Sandstone-type uranium deposits of the Colorado Plateau are epigenetic. Certain elements have been added locally to the sandstone host to form the deposits; the added fraction of each element in the deposits is call extrinsic to distinguish it from the part present in the original unmineralized host. The principal extrinsic components, in their approximate order of abundance, are vanadium, iron magnesium, uranium, sulfur, arsenic, copper, lead, molbedenum, selenium, cobalt, and nickel.
At lest six possible sources of the extrinsic components of the uranium deposits may be considered reasonably likely: 1) the sandstone beds enclosing the uranium deposits, 2) the marine Mancos shales of Cretaceous ages, 3) bentonitic shales of Jurassic and Triassic age, 4) petroliferous rocks of Pennsylvanian age, 5) Precambrian crystalline rocks underlying the Colorado Plateau, and 6) magmatic reservoirs of latest Cretaceous or Tertiary age. If the major source of some of the elements of external to the sandstone beds enclosing the deposits, it is likely that several sources have contributed to some if not most of the extrinsic components and that the importance of the various sources differs from one component to the next. Precambrian crystalline rocks are considered the most likely major source of the extrinsic uranium in the deposits.