The ash of needles, cones, and duff from Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Laws) growing near uranium deposits of the Midnite mine, Stevens County, Wash., contain as much as 200 parts per million (ppm) uranium. Needle samples containing more than 10 ppm uranium define zones that correlate well with known uranium deposits or dumps. Dispersion is as much as 300 m but generally is less. Background is about 1 ppm. Tree roots are judged to be sampling ore, low-grade uranium halo, or ground water to a depth of about 15 m. Uptake of uranium by Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) needles appears to be about the same as by Ponderosa pine needles. Cones and duff are generally enriched in uranium relate to needles. Needles, cones, and duff are recommended as easily collected, uncomplicated sample media for geochemical surveys. Samples can be analyzed by standard methods and total cost per sample kept to about $6.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Biogeochemical prospecting for uranium with conifers: results from the Midnite Mine area, Washington
U.S. Geological Survey,
i, 20 leaves :maps (1 fold. in pocket) ;27 cm.; (23 p., 1 sheet - PGS)