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Novel Lidar XRF Integration for Routine Outcrop Elemental and Mineralogic Analysis: Examples From the Florida Pleistocene and New Mexico Permian

Abstract

A novel approach combining high resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) as a nondestructive elemental and mineralogic analytical tool of outcrops up to square kilometers in scale down to a cm scale was employed for Pleistocene and Permian carbonate outcrop analysis. At discrete stations the XRF elemental analysis is determined and then mineralogically calculated based upon a suite of element-mineral associations for the outcrop lithologic mineral family which was confirmed by mineral standards. The mineralogic associated LIDAR reflectivity is then quantitatively mapped using false color extraction of the image. The false colors are then correlated to the specific carbonate minerals from standards which allows mineral percentages to be determined. This approach was tested on the Pleistocene Key Large Limestone outcrop in Windley Ke, and a Guadalupian outcrop in Slaughter Canyon. Both revealed differences in outcrop primary and secondary mineralogies and/or lithologies (owing to diagenesis) and in these specific instances revealed effects owing to catastrophic events owing to a megahurricane (Windley Key) and to oscillating changes in global sea level (Slaughter Canyon). Such an integrative approach facilitates the mineralogic assessment of large and physically difficult to access outcrops. Standards utilized must be recalibrated for distinct mineralogic and surface weathering differences between stations.