Formation and resulfidization of a South Texas roll-type uranium deposit

Open-File Report 79-1651

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Core samples from a roll type uranium deposit in Live Oak County, south Texas have been studied and results are reported for Se, Mo, FeS2 and organic-carbon distribution, sulfide mineral petrology, and sulfur isotopic composition of iron-disulfide phases. In addition, sulfur isotopic compositions of dissolved sulfate and sulfide from the modern ground water within the ore bearing sand have been studied. The suite of elements in the ore sand and their geometric relationships throughout the deposit are those expected for typical roll-type deposits with well-developed oxidation-reduction interfaces. However, iron-disulfide minerals are abundant in the altered tongue, demonstrating that this interval has been sulfidized after mineralization (resulfidized or rereduced). Iron disulfide minerals in the rereduced interval differ mineralogically and isotopically from those throughout the remainder of the deposit. The resulfidized sand contains dominantly pyrite that is enriched in 34S, whereas the sand beyond the altered tongue contains abundant marcasite that is enriched in the light isotope, 32S. Textural relationships between pyrite and marcasite help to establish relative timing of iron disulfide formation. In reduced rock outside the altered tongue, three distinct generations of iron disulfide are present. The oldest of these generations consists largely of pyrite with lesser amounts of marcasite. A major episode of marcasite formation contemporaneous with ore genesis postdates the oldest pyrite generation but predates a younger pyrite generation. Resulfidization probably led to the final pyrite stage recognized beyond the altered tongue. Stable isotope data establish that the source of sulfur for the resulfidization was fault-leaked H2S probably derived from the Edwards Limestone of Cretaceous age which underlies the deposit. The deposit formed in at least two stages: (1) a pre-ore process of host rock sulfidization which produced disseminated pyrite as the dominant iron disulfide phase; and (2) an ore-stage process which led to the development of the uranium roll with emplacement of the characteristic suite of minor and accessory elements and which produced abundant isotopically light marcasite. The host rock was modified by a post-ore stage of resulfidization which precipitated isotopically heavy pyrite. Sulfur isotopic compositions of sulfide and sulfate present in modern ground water within the host sand differ greatly from sulfur isotopic composition of iron disulfides formed during the resulfidization episode. Iron disulfide minerals formed from the sulfur species of modern ground water have not been unequivocally identified.

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Formation and resulfidization of a South Texas roll-type uranium deposit
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iii, 45 p.;28 cm.