The persistent natural hydrocarbon seepage in onshore basins challenges observation and exploration technologies, which are required to document and assess these valuable indications of the presence of oil and gas in the subsurface. This paper aims at demonstrating the relationship between the compositional variation of an evaporite cap rock and the types of seeps occurring at the surface. For this purpose, the multispectral Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data was utilized for mapping mineral variations of a petroleum system in the Zagros oil fields. Relative absorption-band depth (RBD), band rationing and the boosted regression trees (BRT) were applied to enhance and classify the mineral composition of evaporite, sandstone, and marly limestone formations. The gas seeps were associated with the areas of gypsum-bearing evaporite cap rock while oil seeps were mostly associated with calcite and clay zones within the cap rock, which was more prone to fracturing during the tectonic activities of the basin. It is suggested that the application of remote sensing in the oil and gas industry could be widened by detection of sleep-induced alteration to assess the efficiency of cap rock and to evaluate the productivity of reservoirs at a regional scale.
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