Use of Fuzzy Membership Input Layers to Combine Subjective Geological Knowledge and Empiricial Data in a Neural Network Method for Mineral-Potential Mapping

W. Brown, David Groves, T. Gedeon

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Use of GIS layers, in which the cell values represent fuzzy membership variables, is an effective method of combining subjective geological knowledge with empirical data in a neural network approach to mineral-prospectivity mapping. In this study, multilayer perceptron (MLP), neural networks are used to combine up to 17 regional exploration variables to predict the potential for orogenic gold deposits in the form of prospectivity maps in the Archean Kalgoorlie Terrane of Western Australia. Two types of fuzzy membership layers are used. In the first type of layer, the statistical relationships between known gold deposits and variables in the GIS thematic layer are used to determine fuzzy membership values. For example, GIS layers depicting solid geology and rock-type combinations of categorical data at the nearest lithological boundary for each cell are converted to fuzzy membership layers representing favorable lithologies and favorable lithological boundaries, respectively. This type of fuzzy-membership input is a useful alternative to the 1-of-N coding used for categorical inputs, particularly if there are a large number of classes. Rheological contrast at lithological boundaries is modeled using a second type of fuzzy membership layer, in which the assignment of fuzzy membership value, although based on geological field data, is subjective. The methods used here could be applied to a large range of subjective data (e.g., favorability of tectonic environment, host stratigraphy, or reactivation along major faults) currently used in regional exploration programs, but which normally would not be included as inputs in an empirical neural network approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
JournalNatural Resources Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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