A botanical sampling program has been completed by the U.S. Geological Survey on La Ventana Mesa, Sandoval County, N. Mex. A uranium-bearing coal in the Allison-Gibson members of the Cretaceous Mesaverde formation crops out in erosional remnants of the mesa.The coal is capped by a well-fractured 65-foot sandstone bed through which roots of a pinyon-juniper forest penetrate. Samples of several hundred branches of trees growing on top of the mesa were collected and analyzed for uranium. The assays ranged from 0.1 part per million to 2.3 ppm uranium in the wood ash. Dead branches, which were found to contain more uranium in the ash than live branches, were sampled where possible. The results have been contoured to indicated probable areas of mineralized coal. Parts of the north butte are recommended as favorable for physical exploration.
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USGS Numbered Series
Botanical prospecting for uranium on La Ventana Mesa, Sandoval County, New Mexico