Abstract

The Gallinas Mountains, located at the junction of Lincoln and Torrance Counties, New Mexico, USA, are a series of alkaline volcanic rocks intruded into Permian sedimentary rocks. The Gallinas Mountains area hosts fluorite and copper as veins containing bastnäsite, whereas deposits of iron skarns and iron replacement are in the area as well. These deposits produce iron. In this study, the multispectral band-ratio method is used for surface mineral recognition, whereas 2D subsurface structure inversion modeling was applied to explore the depth extent of the magnetic ore distribution from aeromagnetic data. Bastnäsite has higher magnetic susceptibility (0.009 SI) than the host rocks and surrounding sedimentary rock. The bastnäsite and iron oxides (magnetite + hematite) can contribute to a positive aeromagnetic anomaly. Results indicate that (1) the positive magnetic anomaly observed at Gallinas Mountains area can be accounted for by a mixture of bastnäsite and iron oxides at a depth of approximately 400 m and a thickness of approximately 13–15 m. The surface of this area is dominated by the hydrothermal alteration associated with iron oxides over the trachyte intrusions as detected by Landsat 8 band-ratio imaging.

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