Uranium ore at the Ladwig mine, Jefferson County, Colo., occurs in steeply dipping, northwest-striking faults and related fractures with a carbonate-adularia assemblage that forms in altered wallrocks and fills veins. The faults occur between large intrusive pegmatites and garnetiferous gneisses of Precambrian age, and were reactivated as the result of the early Paleocene uplift of the Front Range foothills. Mineralization in the deposit includes both wallrock alteration and vein filling. Alteration was intense but local, and chiefly involved the carbonatization of mafic minerals in the wallrocks. Felsic minerals in the wallrocks are relatively unaltered. The veins are filled with an adularia-pitchblende-carbonate assemblage with minor related sulfides and coffinite. Many of the iron-bearing carbonates in both the alteration and vein assemblages have been altered to hematite.
The mineralization and alteration are believed to have formed in response to initially high amounts of CO2 and the subsequent release of dissolved CO2 by boiling or effervescence. Uranium, carried in a dicarbonate complex, was precipitated directly as pitchblende when the CO2 was released. The expulsion of H+ during boiling created a net oxidizing environment which oxidized the iron-bearing carbonates. Late stage calcite and sulfides were deposited in existing voids in the veins.
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Alteration and vein mineralization, Ladwig uranium mine, Jefferson County, Colorado