Host rocks and their alterations as related to uranium-bearing veins in the United States

Trace Elements Investigations 638

The report concerns works done on behalf of the Division of Raw Materials of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission



This paper, dealing with the different kinds of host rocks and their alterations associated with uranium-bearing veins in the United States, is a chapter of a comprehensive report entitled , "Geology of uranium-bearing vein deposits in the United States," in preparation by George W. Walker, Frank W. Osterwald, and others. The comprehensive report will include detailed information on tectonic and structural setting, kinds of host rocks, wall-rock alteration, mineralogy, physical characteristics, processes of deposition, and concepts of origin of uraniferous veins; but, because it will not be completed until sometime in the future, some chapters of the report are being transmitted as they are finished. Part of an introductory chapter to the comprehensive report entitled, "Classification and distribution of uranium-bearing veins in the United States" (Walker and Osterwald, 1956) has already been transmitted; several of the terms used herein are defined in the introductory chapter.

Data included in this chapter demonstrate that uranium-bearing veins are: 1) in rocks of nearly all textural, chemical, and mineralogic types; 2) most abundant in holocrystalline, commonly equigranular, igeneous and metamorphic rocks characterized by a moderate to high silica content and and by similar physical properties. Although some of the physiochemical properties of the host rocks are discussed in terms of favorability or nonfavoribility for uranium deposition, the principal purpose of this chapter is to establish the petroloic environment in which uranium-bearing veins have been found. Because favorability or nonfavorability of host rocks is related complexly to the chemistry of ore solutions and to methods or uranium transport and deposition, several hypothetical processes of transport and deposition have been referred to briefly; these and other hypotheses will be outlines and discussed in greater detail in a subsequent chapter.

The compilation of data leading to this report and its preparation by a member of the Uranium Research and Resource Section, U.S. Geological Survey, was done on behalf of the Division of Raw Materials, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. The report is based on both published and unpublished information collected principally by personnel of the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission or its predecessor organization, the Manhattan Engineer District, and to a lesser extent by staff members of other Federal or State agencies and by geologists in private industry. Information concerning foreign uranium-bearing vein deposits has been extracted almost exclusively from published reports; references to these and other data are included at appropriate places.

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Host rocks and their alterations as related to uranium-bearing veins in the United States
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Trace Elements Investigations
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U.S. Geological Survey
59 p.
United States