Coffinite is the dominant ore mineral in the V-U ores of the Tony-M mine in the Henry Mts mineral belt of the Colorado Plateau. This orebody was formed at a density-stratified solution interface between uranyl-ion-bearing meteoric water and a saline fluid which was locally reducing. The localization of U at this solution interface occurred by adsorption onto the surfaces of detrital minerals, this adsorption being related to the pH difference between the two fluids. Experimental evidence is presented showing that the adsorption facilitated the reduction of uranium to U(IV). This adsorbed, reduced uranium bonded with aqueous silica in the ore zone to form coffinite. The high concentration of silica (as a monomeric species) in the ore-forming solution stabilized coffinite in preference to uraninite.-R.A.H.
Additional Publication Details
Origin of coffinite in sedimentary rocks by a sequential adsorption-reduction mechanism.