Lacustrine sediments deposited in maar lakes of the Hopi Buttes diatremes are hosts for uranium mineralization of as much as 1500 ppm. The monchiquites and limburgite turfs erupted from the diatremes are distinguished from normal alkalic basalts of the Colorado Plateau by their extreme silica undersaturation and high water, TiO2, and P2O5 contents. Many trace elements are also unusually abundant, including Ag, As, Ba, Be, Ce, Dy, Eu, F, Gd, Hf, La, Nd, Pb, Rb, Se, Sm, Sn, Sr, Ta, Tb, Th, U, V, Zn, and Zr.
The lacustrine sediments, which consist predominantly of travertine and clastic rocks, are the hosts for syngenetic and epigenetic uranium mineralization of as much as 1500 ppm uranium. Fission track maps show the uranium to be disseminated within the travertine and clastic rocks, and although microprobe analyses have not, as yet, revealed discrete uranium-bearing phases, the clastic rocks show a correlation of high Fe, Ti, and P with areas of high U. Correlation coefficients show that for the travertines, clastics, and limburgite ruffs, Mo, As, Sr, Co, and V appear to have the most consistent and strongest correlations with uranium. Many elements, including many of the rare-earth elements, that are high in these three rocks are also high in the monchiquites, as compared to the average crustal abundance for the respective rock type. This similar suite of anomalous elements, which includes such immobile elements as the rare earths, suggests that Fluids which deposited the travertines were related to the monchiquitic magma. The similar age of about 5 m.y. for both the lake beds and the monchiquites also appears to support this source for the mineralizing fluids.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Diatremes of the Hopi Buttes, Arizona; chemical and statistical analyses