Detection of mineral alteration induced by hydrocarbon microseepages by using remotely sensed data in the Fateh Jang area of the Northern Potwar region of Pakistan


Mineral alteration can be induced by the hydrocarbon seepages at the earth surface that can be detected by the use of earth observation data. The long-term seepage of hydrocarbons in the subsurface can induce different types of chemical and mineralogical alterations in the rosk and soil. Mapping of these mineral alterion is important to explore hydrocarbon. In this study, satellite images were used to identify the surface mineral alterations due to hydrocarbon microseepages in the Fateh Jang area of the Northern Potwar region, Islamabad, Pakistan. Landsat TM band ratios of 7/5, 3/1, and 5/4 are used to detect ferric minerals, clay minerals, and ferrous iron minerals bearing sedimentary rocks, respectively, which are applied to distinguish the altered and unaltered rocks. Such rocks have specific spectral responses in various bands of the electromagnetic spectrum and thus give rise to a number of anomalies indicating the presence of hydrocarbons. This study uses enhancement techniques of principal component analysis (PCA), band ratio, false color composite (FCC), and thermal anomaly composition for surface expressions caused by microseeps. It is revealed that spectral reflectance signify that the ferrous iron and red bed bleaching have reflection band and absorption band in TM bands 1, 3, and 4, respectively. Clay minerals and kaolinite have enormous reflection in band 5 and absorption capacity in TM band 7. These results can be used as a model to identify the alteration induced by hydrocarbon seepages. The study area is categorized into northern, eastern, southern, and western zones on the basis mineral alteration. The northern zone is characterized by strong anomalies and is relatively rich in clay alteration and ferrous as compared to other zones. Two types of hydrocarbon microseepages were observed in the Fateh Jang area which includes active seepages (gas microseepages and oil seepage) and passive seepage (bleaching effects).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15


  1. Abrams, M.A., Eds. (1984); AAPG: Houston, TX, USA, pp. 71–89.

  2. Beitler B, Chan MA, Parry WT (2003) Bleaching of Jurassic Navajo sandstone on Colorado Plateau Laramide highs: evidence of exhumed hydrocarbon supergiants? Geology 31:1041e1044

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Chan MA, Parry W, Bowman J (2000) Diagenetic hematite and manganese oxides and fault-related fluid flow in Jurassic sandstones, southeastern Utah. AAPG Bull 84:1281e1310

    Google Scholar 

  4. Crosta, A. P., J. Mc M. Moore, (1989) Enhancement of Landsat Thematic Mapper Imagery for residual soil mapping in SW Minas Gerais State Brazil: a prospecting case history in Greenstone Belt Terrain, Proceedings of the Seventh Thematic Conference on Remote Sensing for Exploration Geology Calgary, p. 2–6

  5. De Jong SM, van der Meer FD (2004) Remote sensing image analysis: including the spatial domain, pp.201–210

  6. Donovan TJ, (1974) Petroleum microseeps at Cement Oklahoma: Evidence and mechanism: AAPG Bull, 58(3), pp 429–446.

  7. Fu B, Zheng G, Ninomiya Y, Wang C, Sun G (2007) Mapping hydrocarbon induced mineralogical alteration in the northern Tian Shan using Q15514 ASTER multispectral data. Terra Nova 19:228, 229

    Google Scholar 

  8. Gibson PJ, Power HC (2000) Introductory remote sensing: digital image processing and applications. Routledge, London, p 184

    Google Scholar 

  9. Goetz AFH, Rock BN, Rowan LC (1983) Remote sensing for exploration: an overview. Econ Geol 78:573–590

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Hisam N, Iqbal M, Zubair A, Mehdi D (2010) Detection of hydrocarbon microseepage anomalies in the Kirthar fold and thrust belt Pakistan through application of image enhancement and GIS techniques, PAPG-SPE Annual Technical Conference, p 167

  11. Jadoon IAK, Kemal A, Frisch W, Jaswal TM (1997) Thrust geometries and kinematics in the Himalayan foreland (North Potwar Deformed Zone), North Pakistan. Geol Rundsch 86:120–131

    Google Scholar 

  12. Jaswal MT, Lillie JR, Lawrence DR (1997) Structure and evolution of the Northern Potwar Deformed Zone Pakistan. AAPG Bull 81:308–328

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kavak KS, Cetin H (2007) A detailed geologic lineament analysis using Landsat TM data of Golmarmara/Manisa region Turkey. Online Journal of Earth Sciences 1:145–153

    Google Scholar 

  14. Khan SD (2006) Mapping alteration caused by hydrocarbon microseepages in Patrick Draw area Southwest Wyoming using image spectroscopy and hyperspectral remote sensing, Grant/Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FG26-05NT42494, 15p

  15. Khan SD, Jacobson S (2008) Remote sensing and geochemistry for detecting hydrocarbon microseepages. GSA Bulletin, 120 96:99–104

    Google Scholar 

  16. Lammoglia T, Souza Filhoa CR, Filho RA (2008) Characterization of hydrocarbon microseepages in the Tucano Basin, (Brazil) through hyperspectral classification and neural network analysis of advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer (Aster) Data, The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 37, Part B8

  17. Levandowski D, Kaley M, Silverman S, Smalley R (1973) Cementation in Lyons sandstone and its role in oil accumulation, Denver basin, Colorado. AAPG Bull 57:2217e2244

    Google Scholar 

  18. Meer FDVD, Werff HMAVD, Ruitenbeek FJAV, Hecker CA, Bakker WHB, Noomen MF, Meijde MVD, Carranza EJM, Smeth JBD, Woldai T (2012) Multi- and hyperspectral geologic remote sensing: a review. Int J Appl Earth Obs Geoinf 14:112–128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Meigs AJ, Burbank DW, Beck RA (1995) Middle-late Miocene (>10 ma) formation of the main boundary thrust in the western Himalaya. Geology 23(5):423–462.;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Nikolakopoulos GK, Tsombos IP, Skianis AG, Vaiopoulos AD (2008) EO-1 Hyperion and ALI bands simulation to Landat 7 ETM+ bands for mineral mapping in Milos Island. Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME), p 4–7

  21. Parry W, Chan MA, Beitler B (2004) Chemical bleaching indicates episodes of fluid flow in deformation bands in sandstone. AAPG Bull 88:175e191

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Petrovic A, Khan SD, Thurmond AK (2012) Integrated hyperspectral remote sensing, geochemical and isotopic studies for understanding hydrocarbon-induced rock alterations. Mar Pet Geol 35:292–308

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Sabins FF Jr (1978) Remote sensing principles and interpretation - 426 pp. Freeman, San Francisco

    Google Scholar 

  24. Saunders D, Burson K, Thompson C (1993) Model for hydrocarbon microseepage and related near-surface alterations. AAPG Bull 83:170–185

    Google Scholar 

  25. Schumacher D (1996) Hydrocarbon-induced alteration of soils and sediments. In: Schumacher D, Abrams MA (eds) Hydrocarbon migration and near surface expression: AAPG Memoir 66. AAPG, Houston, pp 71–89

    Google Scholar 

  26. Shah I (1977) Memoirs of the geological survey of Pakistan. Geological Survey of Pakistan 12:65, 77–79, 88–89

  27. Shi P, Fu B, Ninomiya Y, Sun J, Li Y (2012) Multispectral remote sensing mapping for hydrocarbon seepage-induced lithologic anomalies in the Kuqa Foreland Basin, South Tian Shan. J Asian Earth Sci 46:70–77

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Sun L, Khan S (2016) Ground-based hyperspectral remote sensing of hydrocarbon-induced rock alterations at cement, Oklahoma. Mar Pet Geol 77:1243–1253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Surdam RC, Jiao ZS, MacGowan DB (1993) Redox reactions involving hydrocarbons and mineral oxidants: a mechanism for significant porosity enhancement in sandstones. AAPG Bull 77:1509e1518

    Google Scholar 

  30. Wakila MH, Saepuloh A, Heriawan MN, & Susanto, A. (2016, September). Performance analysis of mineral mapping method to delineate mineralization zones under tropical region. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 42(1), p. 012007. IOP Publishing.

  31. Wandrey CJ, Law BE, Shah HA (2004) Patala-Nammal composite total petroleum system, Kohat-Potwar geologic province, Pakistan. US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Denver

  32. Yetken E (1996) Alteration mapping by remote sensing: application to Hasandag-Melendiz volcanic complex. M. Sc. Thesis, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, p 86–89

  33. Zhang J (2006) Hyperspectral data analyzing for characterizing hydrocarbon microseepage at sandstone-type uranium deposits. IIEE, Denver, pp 1557, 1558

  34. Zhang G, Shen X, Zou L, Lu S (2007) Identifying hydrocarbon leakage induced anomalies using Landsat-7/ETM+ data processing techniques in the west slope of Songliao basin, China. In: In Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, p 1

Download references


The authors thank the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) for providing remote sensing data to complete this research work.

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Ayesha Habib or Muhammad Khubaib Abuzar.

Electronic supplementary material


(DOC 6102 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Habib, A., Abuzar, M.K., Ahmad, I. et al. Detection of mineral alteration induced by hydrocarbon microseepages by using remotely sensed data in the Fateh Jang area of the Northern Potwar region of Pakistan. Arab J Geosci 12, 121 (2019).

Download citation


  • Remote sensing
  • GIS
  • Mineral alteration
  • Geology
  • Hydrocarbon microseepages