State-of-the-art analysis of geochemical data for mineral exploration

E C Grunsky, Patrice De Caritat De Peruzzis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Multi-element geochemical surveys of rocks, soils, stream/lake/floodplain sediments and regolith are typically carried out at continental, regional and local scales. The chemistry of these materials is defined by their primary mineral assemblages and their subsequent modification by comminution and weathering. Modern geochemical datasets represent a multi-dimensional geochemical space that can be studied using multivariate statistical methods from which patterns reflecting geochemical/geological processes are described (process discovery). These patterns form the basis from which probabilistic predictive maps are created (process validation). Processing geochemical survey data requires a systematic approach to effectively interpret the multi-dimensional data in a meaningful way. Problems that are typically associated with geochemical data include closure, missing values, censoring, merging, levelling different datasets and adequate spatial sample design. Recent developments in advanced multivariate analytics, geospatial analysis and mapping provide an effective framework to analyse and interpret geochemical datasets. Geochemical and geological processes can often be recognized through the use of data discovery procedures such as the application of principal component analysis. Classification and predictive procedures can be used to confirm lithological variability, alteration and mineralization. Geochemical survey data of lake/till sediments from Canada and of floodplain sediments from Australia show that predictive maps of bedrock and regolith processes can be generated. Upscaling a multivariate statistics-based prospectivity analysis for arc-related Cu-Au mineralization from a regional survey in the southern Thomson Orogen in Australia to the continental scale, reveals a number of regions with a similar (or stronger) multivariate response and hence potentially similar (or higher) mineral potential throughout Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-232
    JournalGeochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis
    Volume20
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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