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Open-File Report 2012–1048

Prepared in cooperation with the Afghanistan Geological Survey, Ministry of Mines under the auspices of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, Department of Defense

Lineament Analysis of Mineral Areas of Interest in Afghanistan

By Bernard E. Hubbard, Thomas J. Mack, and Allyson L. Thompson

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During a preliminary mineral resource assessment of Afghanistan (Peters and others, 2007), 24 mineralized areas of interest (AOIs) were highlighted as the focus for future economic development throughout various parts of the country. In addition to located mineral resources of value, development of a viable mining industry in Afghanistan will require the location of suitable groundwater resources for drinking, processing of mineral ores for use or for export, and for agriculture and food production in areas surrounding and supporting future mining enterprises. This report and accompanying GIS datasets describe the results of both automated and manual mapping of lineaments throughout the 24 mineral occurrence AOIs described in detail by Peters and others (2007; 2011). For this study, we define lineaments as "mappable linear or curvilinear features of a surface whose parts align in a straight or slightly curving relationship that may be the expression of a fault or other linear zones of weakness" as derived from remote sensing sources such as optical imagery, radar imagery or digital elevation models (DEMs) (Sabins, 2007).

Water wells in bedrock aquifers are generally more productive where boreholes intersect fractures or fracture zones. Lineament identification and analysis have long been used as a reconnaissance tool to identify such favorable conditions for groundwater resources in carbonate bedrock environments (Lattman and Parizek, 1964; Siddiqui and Parizek, 1971). More recently, lineament analysis has been used to identify areas of greater well yields in other bedrock settings, such as crystalline bedrock (Mabee and other, 1994; Moore and others, 2002). Lineaments provide an indication of bedrock areas that warrant further investigation for optimal water well placement. They may also indicate areas of preferential flow and storage of groundwater, and, thus, areas with a greater density of lineaments may indicate greater secondary porosity. Lineaments may indicate structurally trending mineralized areas (for example, Mars and Rowan, 2007), or locations of near-surface water resources, especially when surface vegetation growth coincides with lineaments.

The purpose of this report and accompanying GIS data is to provide lineament maps that give one indication of areas that warrant further investigation for optimal bedrock water-well placement within 24 target areas for mineral resources (Peters and others, 2011). These data may also support the identification of faults related to modern seismic hazards (for example, Wheeler and others, 2005; Ruleman and others, 2007), as well as support studies attempting to understand the relationship between tectonic and structural controls on hydrothermal fluid flow, subsequent mineralization, and water-quality issues near mined and unmined mineral deposits (for example, Eppinger and others, 2007).

Posted April 27, 2012

For additional information contact:
Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
954 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192–0002

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Hubbard, B.E., Mack, T.J., and Thompson, A.L., 2012, Lineament analysis of mineral areas of interest in Afghanistan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1048, 28 p., available only at



Automated Lineament Mapping

Manual Lineament Mapping

Results and Discussion

References Cited

Appendix 1. Rose Diagrams Summarizing Dominant Azimuth Directions for Lineaments Mapped Within the Mineral Areas of Interest (AOIs)

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