Documentation of alteration mineralogy through space and time is key to understanding the evolution of fluids and mineralizing processes important in ore formation. With advancements in digital data and analysis, spectroscopy is now a fundamental tool for identifying fine-grained minerals and recognizing changes in mineral chemistry. Regular use of drill core scanners also provides detailed textural and mineralogical records providing data for three dimensional models. The results are easily integrated into system and deposit models and may be associated directly with whole rock geochemistry.
We will consider how spectral data is currently collected by exploration and mining companies as well as how many academic groups integrate field spectroscopy into their studies. There are several key considerations for both types of work, including which instruments are used, and how data is collected and processed. Smart use of spectroscopy can be powerful, but poor interpretation or inadequate data will lead to loss of important knowledge. There are many points along the way where errors may be introduced into the results.
What do exploration geologists need to know? Are there key areas of research that need to be addressed? Clearly exploration and mining groups are acquiring vast quantities of analyses, but how good is the data and which approaches work best? We will discuss these questions by examining case studies, reviewing the fundamental science, and considering current data analysis practices that work.