The uranium mineral, metatyuyamunite, occurs in the basal limestone of the Sundance formation of late Jurassic age along the east flank of the Bighorn Mountains, about 2 miles southwest of the abandoned Mayoworth post office. This occurrence is of particular interest because it is the first uranium mineralization reported from a marine limestone in Wyoming. The discovery uranium claims were filed in July 1953, by J.S. Masek, Dan Oglesby, and Jack Emery of Casper, Wyo. Subsequent reconnaissance investigations have been made by private individuals and geologists of the U.S. Geological Survey and Atomic Energy Commission.
The metatyuyamunite is concentrated in a hard gray oolitic limestone that forms the basal bed of the Sundance formation. A selected sample of limestone from a fresh face in the northernmost deposit known at the time of the field examination contained 0.70 percent equivalent uranium and 0.71 percent uranium. Eight samples of the limestone taken at the sample place by the Atomic Energy Commission contained from 0.007 to 0.22 percent uranium. A chip sample from the weathered outcrop at the top of this limestone half a mile to the southeast contained 0.17 percent equivalent uranium and 0.030 percent uranium. A dinosaur bone from the middle part of the Morrison formation contained 0.044 percent equivalent uranium and 0.004 percent uranium.
metatyuyamunite forms a conspicuous yellow coating along fracture planes cutting the oolitic limestone and has also replaced many of the oolites within the solid limestone and has also replaced many of the oolites within the solid limestone even where fractures are not present.
Many radioactive spots in the basal limestone of the Sundance formation were examined in a reconnaissance fashion along the outcrop for a distance of half a mile south of the initial discovery. Samples were taken for analysis only at the northern and southern margins of this interval. Outcrops farther north and south were not studied.
There are not sufficient data to make even rough estimates of tonnage and grade of the occurrences. The extent of the limestone, the approximate boundaries of the area of above-normal radioactivity, and the possibilities of other radioactive zones have not been thoroughly investigated. Although dinosaur bones in the Morrison formation were radioactive wherever they were tested, no significant amount of radioactivity was observed in rocks adjacent to the bones.