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Mineral potential mapping based on GIS


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Article · July 2010


DOI: 10.1109/ESIAT.2010.5567314

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Journal of Geochemical Exploration


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jgeoexp

Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models


Gongwen Wang a,⁎, Emmanuel John M. Carranza b, Renguang Zuo a, c,⁎⁎, Yinglong Hao a, Yangsong Du a,
Zhenshan Pang d, Yue Sun a, Jianan Qu a
a
State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
b
Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, 7500 AE, The Netherlands
c
State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
d
China Geological survey, Beijing 100037, China

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Available online xxxx The Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit is one of the most important copper deposits discovered in China in the last
five years. In this deposit, the irregular distributions of high concentrations of metals are associated with four
Keywords: intrusive complexes and fault structures. In the present study, fractal models including box-counting dimen-
Mineral exploration sion (Bd), power-law frequency and Hurst exponent are applied to characterize the vertical distributions of
Fractal Cu values along boreholes in the deposit, and to delineate target areas in the Pulang copper district. The
Box-counting dimension
resulting box-counting model shows that the vertical distributions of Cu in both mineralized and non-
Power-law frequency
Hurst exponent
mineralized boreholes exhibit self-similarity, with values of Bd ranging from 1.01 to 1.43, and mineralized
Porphyry-Cu deposit boreholes have values of Bd higher than those of non-mineralized boreholes. The resulting power-law
frequency model shows that the vertical distributions of Cu in mineralized boreholes are bifractal whereas
they are monofractal in non-mineralized boreholes. The bifractal vertical distributions of Cu values are
generally associated with multiple ore-forming stages/periods or complicated ore-forming functions of
geological background. The Hurst exponents of Cu data from all continuously mineralized boreholes are
> 0.5, indicating that the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit has good vertical continuity of mineralization, or that
the development of orebodies was relatively stable in this geological setting. High Hurst exponents
(> 0.85) can be utilized to identify subsurface mineralized targets, whereas lower Hurst exponents (b 0.85)
represent discontinuous mineralized rocks along the margins of the porphyry-Cu deposit near country
rocks. Based on calculated values of average Cu grade, coefficient of variation, Bd and Hurst exponent for
the Cu data along boreholes, interpolated values of these variables are excellent for mapping of potential
targets. The results show that the Complex II (intrusive body) is a potential copper target in the north of
the Pulang district, because it has a similar Bd as the Complex I that hosts the Pulang porphyry-Cu orebody
in the south of the Pulang district. In addition, the Complex I has a potential porphyry-Cu target at depth be-
tween explorations lines 7 and 15 based on high Hurst exponents and favorable geological setting. The appli-
cation of the fractal models discussed in this study is convenient, simple, rapid and direct for outlining
potential exploration targets without processing multiple geological, geophysical, and geochemical datasets
from disparate sources.
Crown Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction applied for quantifying properties of mineralized areas to aid mineral


resource evaluation, mineral prospectivity mapping, and geochemical
Mandelbrot's (1983) fractal geometry provides advantages for de- exploration (e.g., Agterberg, 1993; Carranza, 2009, 2011; Carranza
scribing and simulating many complex forms and patterns in nature. and Sadeghi, 2010; Carranza et al., 2009; Li et al., 1994; Sanderson
Fractal models are well established and have been effectively applied et al., 1994; Shi and Wang, 1998; Turcotte, 1997, 2002; Wang et al.,
for describing the distributions of geological objects (Cheng, 1995; 2011; Zuo, 2011; Zuo et al., 2009a, 2009b).
Raines, 2008; Zuo et al., 2009c) and for identifying geochemical Like the distributions of geochemical elements in surficial materials
anomalies (Cheng et al., 1994, 2000). Fractal models have also been (Cheng et al., 1994), the distributions of geochemical elements in bore-
holes also exhibit fractal properties, which assume power-law charac-
teristics (Monecke et al., 2001; Sanderson et al., 1994; Zuo et al.,
⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: + 86 10 82323271.
⁎⁎ Corresponding author at: State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral
2009a). Characterization of the distributions of geochemical elements
Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China. in boreholes is essential for evaluating the quality and quantity of min-
E-mail addresses: gwwang@cugb.edu.cn (G. Wang), zrguang@cug.edu.cn (R. Zuo). eral resources (Zuo et al., 2009a). Fractal models are gradually being

0375-6742/$ – see front matter. Crown Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
2 G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

adopted for effective analysis of spatial structures in metallic geochem- Cheng et al., 1994). Irregular distributions of high concentrations of
ical systems. Fractal modeling of the spatial distributions of geochemical metals in ore deposits are characterized by fractal and multifractal
data can provide useful information and appropriate criteria for recog- properties. Therefore, in this paper, methods for analysis of fractal
nition and classification of mineralized and barren zones within a dimensions including box dimension, power-law frequency and
study area. Various log-log plots in fractal modeling are proper methods Hurst exponents were utilized to (1) characterize the vertical distri-
for separation and classification of populations in geochemical data be- butions of Cu grades in borehole data from Pulang district (China),
cause threshold values can be recognized as breakpoints in those plots. and (2) define potential targets for further evaluation of porphyry-
Geochemical threshold values recognized though fractal analysis are Cu resources.
usually explainable by geological features or processes. This provide
strong basis for the proposed application of fractal modeling to identify 2.1. Box-counting method
and map various zones in porphyry-Cu deposits (Afzal et al., 2011).
Porphyry-Cu deposits usually display consistent, broad-scale zoning Box counting is one of most popular methods to estimate fractal
patterns comprising of sodic-calcic, potassic, chloritic-sericitic, sericitic, dimensions. It can be used to measure irregularity of spatial patterns,
and argillic alteration assemblages (Lowell and Guibert, 1970; Meyer and it can be implemented with the aid of a GIS or Matlab software. If
and Hemley, 1967; Sillitoe, 1973). Intrusive porphyries in one district spatial patterns are fractal in terms of the box-counting method, the
may have similar features (e.g., lithology and alteration mineral assem- relation between the number of boxes and the side length of the
blage), but in every porphyry-Cu deposit the degree of mineralization boxes follows a power-law:
may vary from the core of potassium silicate zone to the peripheral
−Bd
phyllic zone. Therefore, various alteration zones in a porphyry-Cu NðδÞ∝δ ; ð1Þ
deposit are expected to exhibit self-similarity fractal characteristics,
whereas mineralized and non-mineralized zones are expected to exhib- which can be rewritten as
it distinct self-similarity fractal characteristics. Yu (2006) researched
the fractal features of some porphyry-Cu deposits, and the results log½NðδÞ ¼ C−Bd logðδÞ ð2Þ
showed that both orebody and mineralized boundaries have continu-
ous fractal characteristics. Therefore, this case study aims to demon- where N(δ) is the number of boxes or cells of side δ and containing
strate the usefulness of fractal modelling for district-scale recognition metal grade curves, C is a constant, and Bd is the box-counting fractal
and mapping of mineralized zones using borehole datasets. The Pulang dimension. Separate grids, each with a different cell size δ, were used
copper district in the Yunnan Province, southwestern China, is the focus to cover the areas enclosed by metal grade curve vector layers, and
of this case study. these grids were used for counting the corresponding the N(δ)
enclosed by metal grade curves. Data pairs for δ and N(δ) are plotted
on a log-log graph and linear regression is applied to fit the plots with
2. Methodology at least one straight line, from which Bd can be estimated. For a one-
dimensional borehole profile in two-dimensional space, the range of
Fractal and multifractal analyses have been demonstrated to be possible Bd is from 1 to 2.
useful in identifying irregularity in spatial distributions of natural
objects (Mandelbrot, 1983). Ore deposits are examples of natural ob- 2.2. Power-law frequency model
jects and many types of ore deposits were produced by magmatic-
hydrothermal systems, which represent a special type of singular pro- The power-law frequency model was used to measure the fre-
cess that occurs in the Earth's crust (Mandelbort, 1985; Cheng, 2008; quency distribution of element concentration data. This model has

Ċ
ĉ

Fig. 1. Transparent 3D model of geology and boreholes in the Pulang district.

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx 3

Fig. 2. Geological cross section along exploration Line 0 in the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit.

been demonstrated by many studies (e.g., Li et al., 1994; Sanderson et where N(≥c) is the number of samples with element concentrations
al., 1994; Shi and Wang, 1998; Turcotte, 1997; Zuo et al., 2009a), and greater than or equal to c, C is a constant and Pd is the fractal dimension.
can be expressed as
2.3. Hurst exponent model
−P d
Nð≥cÞ∝c ; ð3Þ
The Hurst exponent proposed by Hurst (1951) is directly related
which can be rewritten as to the fractal dimension of a process, and provides a measure of pro-
cess roughness. The Hurst exponent is associated with a self-affine re-
log½Nð≥cÞ ¼ C−P d logðcÞ ð4Þ cord, which measures the long-range dependence in a time series and

Fig. 3. 3D model of the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit (based on Cu cut-off grade of 0.3%).

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
4 G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

Table 1
Statistical information of 77 boreholes (73 mineralized boreholes and four non-mineralized (bold and underline) boreholes in the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit). Note: “-” delineates
monofractal properties of boreholes.

Zones (from south to north) Borehole Depth Bd Bd N Cu grade (%) Hurst Hurst D Bifractal
(m) (R2) exp. exp.(R2)
Mean(μ) Std. dev.(σ) CV Bi.(D1) Bi.(D2)
(σ/μ)

Mineralized zone in complex I, Line 15 ZK1501 306.86 1.01 0.985 8 0.017 0.015 0.900 0.82 0.988 1.18 0.547 2.524
ZK1513 150.15 1.02 0.996 14 0.016 0.008 0.500 0.82 0.977 1.18 0.815 5.674
Ore zone in intrusive complex I, Line 7 ZK0701 280.28 1.17 0.996 94 0.193 0.196 1.016 0.83 0.970 1.17
ZK0705 115.07 1.05 0.996 33 0.280 0.171 0.611 0.88 0.951 1.12
ZK0709 329.60 1.23 0.997 55 0.214 0.112 0.521 0.78 0.974 1.22 0.610 3.670
ZK0713 163.31 1.09 0.997 58 0.193 0.209 1.085 0.94 0.981 1.06
ZK0717 251.05 1.16 0.990 76 0.025 0.016 0.621 0.76 0.957 1.24
Ore zone in complex I Line 3 ZK0301 230.38 1.25 0.994 139 0.261 0.158 0.606 0.86 0.993 1.14
ZK0304 155.48 1.16 0.994 93 0.228 0.091 0.397 0.89 0.979 1.11
ZK0305 157.11 1.18 0.996 86 0.265 0.138 0.521 0.95 0.983 1.05
ZK0313 171.33 1.14 0.997 62 0.319 0.133 0.416 0.92 0.986 1.08
ZK0317 340.15 1.29 0.995 167 0.070 0.053 0.759 0.87 0.985 1.13 0.732 5.577
Ore zone in complex I Line 1 ZK0101 99.30 1.14 0.996 65 0.493 0.255 0.517 0.86 0.981 1.14
ZK0104 93.58 1.18 0.994 55 0.370 0.091 0.245 0.81 0.990 1.19
Ore zone in complex I Line 0 ZK0008 300.28 1.22 0.994 139 0.193 0.097 0.505 0.86 0.976 1.14 0.235 4.156
ZK0004 150.08 1.21 0.994 97 0.615 0.195 0.317 0.73 0.924 1.27 0.036 4.381
ZK0002 124.26 1.13 0.995 83 1.553 0.376 0.242 0.83 0.990 1.17 0.058 5.328
PLD001 300.19 1.27 0.998 168 0.667 0.350 0.525 0.94 0.990 1.06 0.375 2.302
ZK0003 147.48 1.17 0.993 97 0.944 0.328 0.347 0.75 0.963 1.25 0.022 4.053
ZK0005 268.14 1.31 0.998 140 0.336 0.178 0.530 0.85 0.984 1.15 0.136 3.736
ZK0009 378.25 1.25 0.995 178 0.268 0.114 0.424 0.87 0.966 1.13 0.066 4.342
ZK0013 252.22 1.26 0.995 117 0.438 0.185 0.422 0.94 0.989 1.06 0.504 6.760
ZK0017 375.30 1.26 0.997 116 0.071 0.081 1.144 0.79 0.990 1.21 0.830 4.100
Ore zone in complex I Line 2, Line 4, PLD002 268.67 1.23 0.992 104 0.349 0.127 0.362 0.89 0.981 1.11
Line 6, Line 8, Line 10, Line 12, Line 16, ZK0201 168.30 1.17 0.995 104 1.320 0.342 0.259 0.78 0.975 1.22
Line 20, Line 24 ZK0202 143.60 1.18 0.994 93 1.544 0.532 0.345 0.85 0.982 1.15
ZK0203 181.80 1.23 0.995 104 0.827 0.252 0.305 0.74 0.960 1.26
ZK0204 111.10 1.13 0.996 71 0.564 0.181 0.322 0.86 0.992 1.14
ZK0205 204.80 1.20 0.997 101 0.523 0.184 0.352 0.86 0.984 1.14
ZK0401 450.80 1.36 0.998 258 0.332 0.219 0.661 0.97 0.977 1.03 0.072 2.465
ZK0402 172.50 1.23 0.996 114 0.594 0.208 0.350 0.93 0.993 1.07
ZK0403 700.30 1.43 0.994 387 0.530 0.322 0.608 0.92 0.988 1.08
ZK0404 122.80 1.17 0.996 79 0.279 0.099 0.356 0.80 0.981 1.20
ZK0405 217.00 1.23 0.996 129 0.696 0.232 0.333 0.78 0.985 1.22 0.385 5.319
ZK0406 750.20 1.41 0.993 358 0.283 0.114 0.403 0.81 0.985 1.19
ZK0407 270.80 1.33 0.995 142 0.392 0.171 0.435 0.93 0.988 1.07
ZK0411 391.00 1.31 0.994 178 0.235 0.103 0.440 0.90 0.983 1.10
ZK0415 235.60 1.20 0.991 111 0.296 0.259 0.873 0.88 0.999 1.12 0.471 3.936
ZK0419 750.20 1.38 0.998 144 0.158 0.125 0.792 0.88 0.974 1.12
ZK0601 228.60 1.27 0.997 145 0.686 0.340 0.496 0.93 0.986 1.07
ZK0602 205.80 1.18 0.996 93 0.601 0.324 0.539 0.89 0.976 1.11
ZK0603 236.10 1.27 0.997 148 0.549 0.194 0.353 0.84 0.960 1.06
ZK0604 181.70 1.24 0.993 121 0.329 0.174 0.527 0.91 0.995 1.09
ZK0605 237.15 1.22 0.998 132 0.402 0.165 0.410 0.70 0.963 1.30
ZK0606 410.20 1.25 0.994 113 0.056 0.057 1.016 0.73 0.983 1.27
ZK0608 141.70 1.12 0.989 74 0.173 0.229 1.323 0.78 0.989 1.22
ZK0801 307.98 1.23 0.993 156 0.346 0.204 0.590 0.81 0.946 1.19
ZK0803 270.66 1.31 0.994 150 0.339 0.117 0.345 0.87 0.993 1.13 0.140 5.520
ZK0804 256.00 1.24 0.995 97 0.250 0.094 0.375 0.73 0.982 1.27
ZK0805 307.85 1.26 0.995 121 0.239 0.111 0.464 0.89 0.986 1.11
ZK0808 370.30 1.23 0.995 168 0.244 0.208 0.855 0.91 0.996 1.09
ZK0809 432.75 1.28 0.995 101 0.240 0.106 0.443 0.92 0.991 1.08
ZK0813 105.80 1.07 0.993 44 0.120 0.067 0.554 0.89 0.988 1.11
ZK0819 320.00 1.10 0.996 17 0.076 0.058 0.768 0.75 0.932 1.25
ZK1001 281.81 1.22 0.994 167 0.597 0.344 0.577 0.93 0.997 1.07
ZK1004 239.80 1.24 0.996 109 0.215 0.094 0.437 0.79 0.991 1.11
ZK1005 285.00 1.19 0.994 84 0.175 0.064 0.364 0.90 0.979 1.10
ZK1201 446.90 1.11 0.995 34 0.145 0.178 1.226 0.71 0.940 1.29
ZK1201′ 357.20 1.25 0.995 177 0.627 0.508 0.809 0.93 0.994 1.07
ZK1203 446.25 1.21 0.998 133 0.205 0.103 0.500 0.75 0.987 1.25
ZK1204 333.08 1.27 0.997 54 0.221 0.079 0.360 0.88 0.965 1.22
ZK1205 341.88 1. 25 0.992 139 0.216 0.077 0.358 0.77 0.987 1.23
ZK1209 184.83 1.01 0.998 7 0.116 0.082 0.708 0.70 0.844 1.30
ZK1601 534.25 1.42 0.997 297 0.392 0.146 0.373 0.85 0.993 1.15
ZK1603 333.75 1.30 0.998 160 0.257 0.097 0.377 0.90 0.995 1.10 0.082 5.160
ZK1604 312.07 1.11 0.996 39 0.190 0.089 0.470 0.72 0.961 1.28
ZK1605 265.85 1.04 0.996 26 0.146 0.120 0.821 0.81 0.980 1.19
ZK1608 514.00 1.13 0.992 38 0.220 0.278 1.264 0.78 0.942 1.22
ZK2001 374.25 1.28 0.995 136 0.218 0.073 0.338 0.92 0.982 1.08
ZK2401 760.50 1.29 0.997 96 0.189 0.066 0.348 0.78 0.968 1.22
ZK2404 608.55 1.21 0.994 69 0.191 0.068 0.355 0.70 0.960 1.30

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx 5

Table 1 (continued)
Zones (from south to north) Borehole Depth Bd Bd N Cu grade (%) Hurst Hurst D Bifractal
(m) (R2) exp. exp.(R2)
Mean(μ) Std. dev.(σ) CV Bi.(D1) Bi.(D2)
(σ/μ)

Potential exploration target in complex ZK5816 224.00 1.07 0.991 20 0.180 0.119 0.658 0.82 0.950 1.18 0.370 2.000
II Line 58, Line 66, Line 74 MZK0001 152.41 1.10 0.991 59 0.327 0.156 0.478 0.73 0.9887 1.27 0.090 3.840
ZK6616 360.38 1.31 0.997 87 0.022 0.021 0.957 0.75 0.946 1.25 1.230 -
ZK6628 301.08 1.01 0.999 36 0.056 0.039 0.702 0.82 0.985 1.18 0.254 1.81
ZK7424 434.48 1.29 0.999 99 0.034 0.020 0.605 0.70 0.985 1.30 0.139 2.999
ZK7432 347.98 1.13 0.989 75 0.018 0.013 0.761 0.84 0.983 1.16 1.203 -

provides a measure of long-term nonlinearity. The values of H lie be- 3. Geological setting and datasets
tween 0 and 1. If H = 0.5, the cumulative behavior is a random walk
and the process produces uncorrelated white noise. Values of H b 0.5 The Pulang copper district (ca. 35 km2) is situated in the Sanjiang
represent anti-persistent behavior whereas values of H > 0.5 repre- copper belt in southwestern China. The Cu reserve in the district is
sent fractional Brownian motion with increasing persistence strength more than 4.3 Mt, and the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit represents
as H → 1. more than 75% of the total Cu reserve (Li et al., 2011; Wang et al.,
The rescaled range analysis (R/S), implies the ratio of the rescaled 2009). The Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit is one of the most important
range (R) to the standard deviation (S), and can be used to estimate copper deposits discovered in China in the last five years. Four intrusive
the Hurst exponent (Mandelbrot and Wallis, 1969) as follows. An or- complexes (labeled as I, II, III, and IV; Fig. 1), surrounded by hornfels,
dered data sequence is divided into d contiguous sub-series of length exist in the Pulang copper district. The intruded country rocks consist
n, such that d × n = N is the total number of samples. For each of of volcaniclastic rocks of the Late Triassic Tumugou Formation (T3t).
the sub-series m, where m = 1,…, d, the following analyses are The strata of T3t are inclined (68°–82°) to the south and to the north
performed. in the northern and southern parts, respectively, of the study area
(Li et al., 2011).
(i) Determine the mean, Em, and standard deviation, Sm, of data in
Intrusive complex I hosts the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit and asso-
each sub-series.
ciated hydrothermal alterations. The geological features of the Pulang
(ii) Normalize each data point (Zi,m) in each sub-series by sub-
tracting from it Em:

X i;m ¼ Z i;m −Em ðform ¼ 1; 2; …; nÞ ð5Þ

(iii) Create a cumulative series by consecutively summing the nor-


malized data points:

X
n
Y i;m ¼ X i;m ð6Þ
i¼1

(iv) Use cumulative series to find the range as:

   
Rm ¼ max Y i:m ; …; Y n;m − min Y i:m ; …; Y n;m ð7Þ

(v) Rescale the range by dividing the range by the standard devia-
tion (i.e., Rm/Sm).
(vi) Calculate the mean of the rescaled range for all sub-series of
length n:

1X d
ðR=SÞn ¼ R =S ð8Þ
d m¼1 m m

(vii) The length of n must be increased to the next higher value,


where d × n = N, and d is an integer value. Repeat steps (i) to
(vi) until n = N/2.
(viii) Finally, estimate the value of H as the slope of the regression
line for log (N) versus log (R/S).
In general, for a one-dimensional profile, the fractal dimension D is
related to Hurst exponent by H = 2 − D. The practical significance of D
is the local discontinuous distribution of a variable. For a one-
dimensional profile in two-dimensional space, the range of possible
fractal dimensions is from 1 to 2, with corresponding H values of 1 to Fig. 4. Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit semivariograms of Cu borehole data: (A) horizontal
0. Therefore, values of H outside this range do not appear to have a omni-directional semivariograms, for azimuths of 0, 45, 90, and 135; (B) vertical omni-
physical interpretation. directional semivariogram.

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
6 G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

porphyry-Cu deposit, which outcrops in an area of ca. 1 km2, have been from 77 boreholes, which were provided by the Yunnan Diqing Mineral
studied in detail by Pang et al. (2009) and Li et al. (2011). Intrusive Resources Limited Company, 2007. The borehole spacing varies from
complex I consists three stages of intrusions: quartz diorite porphyry 80 m × 60 m to 320 m × 240 m according to the standard of copper de-
formed in the first stage, quartz monzonite porphyry in the second posit exploration in China. Of the 77 boreholes, 73 intersected mineral-
stage, and granodiorite porphyry in the third stage. The crystallization ization whereas the other four boreholes intersected non-mineralized
ages of intrusive complex I, around 211.8 ± 0.5 Ma, have been deter- rocks only. Of the 77 boreholes, 69 were sunk into intrusive complex
mined using the single-grain zircon U–Pb method (Pang et al., 2009). I for evaluation of the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit whereas the other
Porphyry-Cu mineralization is associated mainly with the quartz mon- nine boreholes were sunk into intrusive complex II, 1–2 km farther to
zonite porphyry (Fig. 1). the north, to explore for undiscovered porphyry-Cu deposit(s)
Intrusive complex II consists of the same lithologies and similar (Fig. 1). Using the available datasets, a 3D orebody model of the Pulang
hydrothermal alterations as intrusive complex I. Intrusive complexes porphyry-Cu deposit, based on a cut-off grade of 0.3% Cu, was created
III and IV are comprised only of quartz diorite porphyries. (Fig. 3). The model delineates the continuous and block characteristics
The Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit consists of intensely altered rocks of the orebody. Note that the orebody depth is not limited only to the
comprising a quartz–K-silicate (biotite, K-feldspar) zone, a phyllic borehole data, but the model was limited to a maximum depth of
(quartz-sericite) zone, an albite zone, and a propylitic (chlorite, epidote) 1050 m as simulated and calculated using neural network method
zone (Fig. 2). The orebody (i.e., based on a cut-off grade of 0.3% Cu) is lo- (Wang et al., 2009). The properties of the model and results of analyses
cated mainly within the phyllic and quartz–K-silicate alteration zones in of the borehole datasets are summarized in Table 1. Figs. 1 and 2 show,
the quartz monzonite porphyry, which intruded into the quartz diorite respectively, that alteration zones on the surface and subsurface are as-
porphyry. Outwards form the quartz–K-silicate alteration zone, Cu miner- sociated with intrusive complexes.
alization weakens and chalcopyrite occurs as disseminations and veinlets
in phyllic zones in the quartz monzonite porphyry. In general, the quartz– 4. Results
K-silicate zone is dominated by high-grade mineralization (0.40–1.56%
Cu), the phyllic zone by low-grade mineralization (0.20–0.40% Cu), and On basis of the borehole datasets in Pulang ore district, the mean (μ),
the propylitic zone by weak mineralization (0.05–0.20% Cu). standard deviation (σ), and coefficient variance (CV = σ/μ) of Cu assay
The basic datasets from the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit include data were calculated respectively and are listed in the Cu grade (%)
1:2000 scale geological map, borehole logs, 1:2,000 scale topographic column in Table 1. To model the Pulang porphyry-Cu grade distribution
maps, 19 cross-section maps of 1:2000 scale and 8145 assay samples in 3D, we calculated the semivariogram for all the borehole data

Fig. 5. Histograms of Cu assay values in selected boreholes (ZK6628 and ZK7424 are non-mineralized boreholes).

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx 7

Fig. 6. Log-log plots of N(δ) versus δ (see. Eq. (1)) for Cu values in selected boreholes (Fig. 5): (A) the Cu values lines with a vector to a raster to calculate Bd, (B) the result of Log-log
plots of N(δ) versus δ.

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
8 G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

pertaining to the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit using S-SEMS software portion of the intrusive complex toward the country rocks. The differ-
with GSLIB data format (Deutsch and Journel, 1998; http://sgems. ences in Bd values for mineralized and non-mineralized boreholes
sourceforge.net). Fig. 4 shows the horizontal and vertical semi- and for the quartz–K-silicate and phyllic zones suggest multiple miner-
variograms for the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit borehole datasets. Six alization stages/periods.
semivariograms corresponding to six different directions in the Pulang
porphyry-Cu deposit show similar behavior with direction, and they 4.2. Power-law frequency distribution of Cu values
can be considered as identical, the continuity of the ore is thus
the same mineralization in all directions (Fig. 4). The south-north The results obtained by the power-law frequency model for bore-
(azimuth = 0, dip= 0) directional semivariogram (Fig. 4A) and vertical holes are listed in the last two columns of Table 1 and shown in
directional semivariogram (Fig. 4B) both exhibit cyclicity features, im- Fig. 7 for the selected boreholes. The log-log plots of cumulative num-
plying that multiple ore-forming periods/stages were involved in the for- ber of samples versus Cu grades show that the vertical distributions of
mation of the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit. Fig. 5 shows positively Cu in mineralized boreholes exhibit bifractal properties. Note that in
skewed distributions of Cu along selected representative mineralized Line 15 (represented by boreholes ZK1501 and ZK1513), which is
and non-mineralized boreholes. near the southern boundary of the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit in the
The lower Cu grades in non-mineralized boreholes show non- southern part of the Pulang district (Fig. 1), the average Cu grades are
multifractal dimension features, which mean that they have single low but the vertical distributions of Cu values exhibit bifractal proper-
mineralization from later magmatic and hydrothermal functions. ties. Likewise, the vertical distributions of Cu values in boreholes
ZK5816, ZK6628, ZK7424, and MZK0001 in complex II in the northern
4.1. Box-counting dimension of Cu distribution part of the Pulang district have fractal properties, as in Line 15
(Table 1). However, the vertical distributions of Cu values in non-
A variety of methods are used to estimate fractal dimension, each mineralized boreholes (e.g., ZK6616 and ZK7432) in complex II exhibit
having its basis in one or more of the scale-dependent properties of a monofractal properties (Fig. 7; Table 1). Therefore, the bifractal proper-
fractal. In this paper, the Cu values lines per borehole were converted ties of the vertical distributions of Cu values in the Pulang copper
from vector to raster format (Fig. 6A). Different cell sizes were used district are likely due to the multiple ore-forming stages/periods or
to for rasterization and the grid cells were counted per cell size used. the complex setting of porphyry intrusions in the district.
Then, for every borehole, a log-log plot of cell size versus count cell
was made (Fig. 6B) in Excel with a trend line fitted using a power func- 4.3. Hurst exponent
tion to determine box-counting fractal dimensions (Bd) and coefficients
of determination (R2) (Table 1). The values of Bd range from 1.01 to Based on the semivariograms of the Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit
1.43 with R2 greater than 0.99, indicating aproximate irregularity of borehole datasets (Fig. 4), we used the R/S method to calculate the
the vertical distributions of Cu. Mineralized boreholes have higher Bd Hurst exponents of the vertical distributions of Cu values in each of
values compared to non-mineralized boreholes (Table 1), indicating the 77 boreholes. Hurst exponents with high goodness of fit using R/S
that mineralization makes the vertical distribution of Cu values more were obtained for 73 mineralized boreholes and four non-mineralized
concentration. The quartz–K-silicate zone has higher Bd values com- boreholes (Fig. 8; Table 1). The Hurst exponents of the vertical distribu-
pared to the phyllic zone (e.g., a maximum Bd (ZK0005) of 1.31 in tions of Cu data for continuous mineralized boreholes in quartz-K-
Line 0 pertains appriximately to the center of porphyry-Cu orebody silicate alteration zone are >0.5 with R2 mostly greater than 0.94, and
(Fig. 2)), implying that metal-bearing fluid spread from the central the N is generally greater than 10. These results indicate vertical

Fig. 7. Log-log plots of cumulative number versus Cu grade in selected boreholes (Fig. 4). Logarithms are base e (2.732) (ZK6628 and ZK7424 are non-mineralized boreholes).

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx 9

Fig. 8. Log-log plots of R/S versus number (N) of samples in selected boreholes (Fig. 4). Logarithms are base 10 (ZK6628 and ZK7424 are non-mineralized boreholes).

persistence and vertical continuity of mineralization mainly within the discontinuous whereas low values of D imply that Cu grades are contin-
intrusive complex. There is at least one borehole wherein the Hurst ex- uous. Values of Bd pertain to the intensity of distribution of ore-forming
ponents of the vertical distribution of Cu data are >0.85 in every elements, and for the present study high values of Bd imply that concen-
exploration line in intrusive complex I (Table 1, Fig. 1). In contrast, the tration of Cu whereas low values of Bd imply dispersion of Cu.
vertical distributions of Cu data in boreholes in the mineralized zone
(Line 15) and potential targets in complex II (Lines 58, 66, 74)all have 4.4. Predictive mapping of potential exploration targets
Hurst exponents of b0.85. Therefore, the complex I should be the ore-
forming center compared to the complex II corresponding to the geo- To interpret the different parameters (mean Cu grade, CV of Cu
logical facts in Pulang ore district. grades, Bd, D, Hurst exponents, and bifractal/multifractal properties) as-
The Hurst exponents obtained for individual boreholes (Table1) sociated with the Cu mineralization, we calculated all those parameters
have Pearson's correlation coefficients of 0.12, −0.10, 0.27, and for every borehole along exploration Line 0, which is a complete cross-
−0.96 versus mean Cu grade, CV of Cu grades, Bd and D, respectively. section of geological bodies (e.g., country rocks, alteration zones, and
These show that the Hurst exponent, mean Cu grade, CV of Cu grades, intrusive rocks) in the Pulang ore district (Fig. 2; Table 1). Although
Bd and D can be regarded as independent variables. Note that both D the boreholes ZK0017 and ZK 0008 at each end of exploration Line
and Bd are one-dimension variables, and all the one-dimension values 0 generally have lower Cu values compared to the boreholes in the cen-
lie between 1 and 1.5, but they have different sample lags and have dif- ter orebody, all boreholes along exploration Line 0 are mineralized and
ferent geological meaning/interpretation. Generally, the frequency-size the vertical distributions of Cu grades exhibit bifractal properties. High
fractal model focuses on the frequency distribution of data, and the Hurst exponents (equivalent to low D) and high mean Cu grades but
fractal dimension of this distribution is related with the ratio of high low Bd values generally represent continuous vertical Cu distributions
values. The box-counting fractal dimensions measure the complexity in mineralized boreholes within the quartz–K-silication alteration
of the spatial distribution of Cu grade along boreholes. Therefore, D zone (represented by boreholes ZK0005, ZK0009, ZK0013, and
pertains to the degree of local discontinuous distribution of a variable, PLD001). In contrast, low Hurst exponents (equivalent to high D) and
and for the present study high values of D imply that Cu grades are high CV of Cu grades apparently represent wall rock (e.g., in borehole

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
10 G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx 11

Fig. 9. Predictive mapping for porphyry-Cu exploration targets based on statistical analysis and fractal modeling of borehole Cu data: (A) average Cu grades; (B) coefficients of
variance; (C) box-counting dimensions (Bd); (D) Hurst exponents; (E) D; and (F) sum of H and Bd.

ZK0017), and low Hurst exponents, low CV of Cu grades and and low Bd and horizontal directions. The continuity of mineralization is a key issue
values represent intrusive rocks without hydrothermal alteration in district-scale mineral exploration of porphyry-Cu deposits, and it can
(e.g., boreholes ZK0003, ZK0002, and ZK0004, each with depth of be recognized by characterizing the vertical distributions of geochemical
b160 m) in mineralized boreholes. Therefore, mean Cu grade, CV of data along boreholes. Although there are differences in styles of
Cu grades, Bd, D, and Hurst exponents of Cu in borehole data allow porphyry-Cu mineralization in terms of intrusive lithology, presence/
distinction between mineralized and non-mineralized zones, and the absence of breccias, alteration assemblages, and mineralization geome-
integrated analyses of those variables allow identification of potential tries, the district-scale continuity of porphyry-Cu mineralization can be
exploration targets. Both Bd and Hurst exponent are positively correlat- delineated using fractal modeling of district-scale borehole datasets.
ed to the Cu mineralized in Pulang ore deposit, and therefore high Bd Therefore, characterization of the vertical distributions of elements is
(>1.25) and high Hurst exponent (>0.85) are favorable for prediction essential for mineral exploration.
of potential exploration targets at depth. Accordingly, Bd and H can be In this paper, three fractal models, including box-counting dimen-
utilized together to predict potential mineralized target at depth. sion (Bd), power-law frequency and Hurst exponent/fractal dimen-
In order to demonstrate the proposition above that fractal modeling sion (D), were used to investigate the irregularity or continuity of
can used to identify potential exploration targets, the statistical parame- Cu mineralization in the Pulang ore district. The vertical distributions
ters and fractal properties of Cu data in each of the 77 boreholes were cal- of Cu data in 73 mineralized boreholes and four non-mineralized
culated. The calculated values were then used to interpolate values of the boreholes in the Pulang copper district (China) were characterized
same parameters and properties at unvisited locations within a total area using those fractal models. Conventional statistical and geostatistical
of 5.45 km2 (1.47 km × 3.71 km) (Fig. 9). All interpolated maps shown in methods can be utilized to analyze the basic ore-forming features
Fig. 9 were created by kriging with spherical semivariogram model using borehole data and knowledge of specific geological setting
(using a search radius covering a minimum number of three data points) (e.g., porphyry-Cu alteration model and metallogenic model). How-
and 1/2 standard variance classifications in ArcGIS. The results show that ever, the simple fractal models demonstrated in this paper is an effi-
the zone of intrusive complex II is a potential exploration target in the cient methodology to predict and assess mineral targets from
northern part of the Pulang district (Fig. 9C, F). In addition, the zone be- sufficient borehole datasets, whereas the multifractal/bifractal prop-
tween Line 7 and Line 15 in the southern part of the Pulang district has erties can be utilized to predict potential targets using sparse bore-
potential Cu targets, which delineate the known potential continuous hole data. Fractal models of borehole datasets in a porphyry-Cu
orebody at depth (from 750 to 1050 m) (Fig. 9C, D, F). These results district can be used in geologically similar surrounding areas for map-
are similar to earlier prediction results obtained by applying neural net- ping of potential targets.
work and 3D GIS modeling methods to geological, geophysical, and geo- The results of the present study can be summarized as follows:
chemical datasets (Wang et al., 2007, 2009).
(1) The box-counting method shows that the vertical distributions
5. Discussion and conclusions of Cu values in mineralized and non-mineralized boreholes ex-
hibit self-similarity, with Bd values ranging from 1.01 to 1.43.
The Pulang porphyry-Cu deposit has typical characteristics of low The Bd values of the vertical distribution of Cu in mineralized
grade, large tonnage, and continuous mineralizations both in vertical boreholes are greater than those in non-mineralized boreholes,

Please cite this article as: Wang, G., et al., Mapping of district-scale potential targets using fractal models, J. Geochem. Explor. (2012),
doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2012.06.013
12 G. Wang et al. / Journal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

indicating that mineralization processes make the vertical dis- University, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), the National
tribution of Cu more irregular. Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41002118).
(2) The power-law frequency analysis reveals that the vertical dis-
tributions of Cu in mineralized boreholes exhibit bifractal
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