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Finding Hydrocarbon-Induced Alterations in Lisbon Valley, Utah: Hyperspectral Remote Sensing and Geochemical Studies

Ana Petrovic, Shuhab Khan, and Henry Chafetz
University of Houston, Houston, TX

Long-term leakages of hydrocarbon microseepages develop diverse arrays of chemical and mineralogical changes in the host rocks and soils. Alterations caused by microseepages that have affected the Wingate Formation in Lisbon Valley, Utah, include bleaching of redbeds, anomalous limonite and carbonate concentrations, anomalous weathering patterns and anomalous clay content. This study is developing new methodologies using spectroscopy, AVIRIS, ASTER and HYPERION hyperspectral remote sensing data as well as ground truth geochemical analyses to identify and map these changes and confirm the hydrocarbon microseepages in Lisbon Valley. Spectroscopy and hypespectral imaging have been used for remote identification of altered and unaltered areas (comparing the resulting spectrum from images with those of known substances gained in the field has revealed information about the composition of the area being viewed) while geochemical analyses (including isotopic and thin section studies, as well as XRD analyses) of selected sandstone field samples are used to substantiate the hydrocarbon origin of the altered material. This methodology could provide a completely new technique for petroleum exploration for use in remote regions of the world where the field work is hard.