Integration of High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and Surface Geochemistry: A Case Study from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Remote sensing technology is an effective and widely established analytical method for petroleum exploration, and it has been proven extremely beneficial by providing access to dangerous or previously inaccessible sites. The study area in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, just NE of Erbil, has been underexplored until recently. In the foothills and in the more interior segments of the Zagros Range there are still places where it is quite challenging to conduct field work due to the difficult terrain. The top seals of hydrocarbon traps range from very efficient to relatively inefficient. Thus, many hydrocarbon accumulations have some leakage to the surface, especially on a geologic time-scale. Leaking and vertically migrating hydrocarbons impose changes on the rocks and soils through which they pass. At the surface, subtle differences in mineral composition or vegetation manifest these changes. During the first phase of the study medium- (Landsat 7, ASTER) and then high-resolution (QuickBird and Worldview-2) satellite data have been used to identify surface alteration anomalies which could be representative of hydrocarbons. In the second phase, 57 rock and 68 soil samples have been collected in the field within the places that was highlighted by satellite studies as alteration anomalies. Decidedly, samples with no alterations were also collected to provide the base-line for the evaluations. The surface samples have been analysed by Synchronous Scanned Fluorescence (SSF), spectrometer and also by regular geochemical methods. The combination of surface geochemical sampling combined with specially processed satellite data did identify live oil seeps at the surface. The interpretation of the results confirmed the leakage of hydrocarbons to the surface in breached traps in certain parts of the study area.
AAPG Datapages/Search and Discovery Article #90194 © 2014 International Conference & Exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey, September 14-17, 2014