The Tertiary sedimentary sequence of the Date Creek basin area of Arizona is composed principally of intertonguing alluvial-fan and lacustrine deposits. The lacustrine rocks contain large intermediate- to, locally, high-grade uranium deposits that form one of the largest uranium resources in the United States (an estimated 670,000 tons of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.023% is indicated by drilling to date). At the Anderson mine, about 50,000 tons of U3O8 occurs in lacustrine carbonaceous siltstones and mudstones (using a cutoff grade of 0.01%). The Anderson mine constitutes a new class of ore deposit, a lacustrine carbonaceous uranium deposit. Floral and faunal remains at the Anderson mine played a critical role in creating and documenting conditions necessary for uranium mineralization. Organic-rich, uraniferous rocks at the Anderson mine contain plant remains and ostracodes having remarkably detailed preservation of internal features because of infilling by opaline silica. This preservation suggests that the alkaline lake waters in the mine area contained high concentrations of dissolved silica and that silicification occurred rapidly, before compaction or cementation of the enclosing sediment. Uranium coprecipitated with the silica. Thinly laminated, dark-colored, siliceous beds contain centric diatoms preserved with carbonaceous material suggesting that lake waters at the mine were locally deep and anoxic. These alkaline, silica-charged waters and a stagnant, anoxic environment in parts of the lake were necessary conditions for the precipitation of large amounts of uranium in the lake-bottom sediments. Sediments at the Anderson mine contain plant remains and pollen that were derived from diverse vegetative zones suggesting about 1500 m of relief in the area at the time of deposition. The pollen suggests that the valley floor was semiarid and subtropical, whereas nearby mountains supported temperate deciduous forests. ?? 1990.
Additional Publication Details
Paleontological analysis of a lacustrine carbonaceous uranium deposit at the Anderson mine, Date Creek basin, west-central Arizona (U.S.A.)