Uranium deposits occur in the upper coarse-grained facies of the Wind River formation of Eocene age in the Gas Hills district of the southern part of the Wind River Basin. Some of the principal deposits lie below the water table in the unoxidized zone and consist of uraninite and coffinite occurring as interstitial fillings in irregular blanket-like bodies. In the near-surface deposits that lie above the water table, the common yellow uranium minerals consist of uranium phosphates, silicates, and hydrous oxides. The black unoxidized uraninite -coffinite ores show enrichment of molybdenum, arsenic, and selenium when compared to the barren sandstone. Probable geologic controls for ore deposits include:
1) permeable sediments that allowed passage of ore-bearing solutions; 2) numerous faults that acted as impermeable barriers impounding the ore -bearing solutions; 3) locally abundant pyrite, carbonaceous material, and natuial gas containing hydrogen sulfide that might provide a favorable environment for precipitation of uranium.
Field and laboratory evidence indicate that the uranium deposits in the Gas Hills district are very young and related to the post-Miocene to Pleistocene regional tilting to the south associated with the collapse of the Granite Mountains fault block. This may have stopped or reversed ground water movement from a northward (basinward) direction and alkaline ground water rich in carbonate could have carried the uranium into the favorable environment that induced precipitation.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
The Gas Hills uranium district and some probable controls for ore deposition
Trace Elements Memorandum
19 p. : ill., maps (map folded on pocket) ; 27 cm.