Uranium minerals.occur in pods associated with cryptocrystalline silica, silver minerals, and scattered sulfide mineral grains in a hydrothermal vein that cuts quartz monzonite and alaskite at the Free Enterprise mine, 2 miles west of Boulder, Mont. The Free Enterprise vein is one of many silicified reef-like structures in this area, most of which trend about N. 60° E. The cryptocrystalline silica zones of the area are lenticular and are bordered by an altered zone where quartz monzonite is the wall rock. No alteration was noticed where alaskite is adjacent to silica zones. No uranium minerals were observed at the surface, but radioactivity anomalies were noted at 57 outcrops. Underground mining has shown that leaching by downward percolating waters has removed most of the uranium from the near-surface part of the Free Enterprise vein and probably has enriched slightly, parts of the vein and the adjacent wall rock from the bottom of the leached zone to the ground-water level. It is possible that other veins that show low to moderate radioactivity at the surface may contain significant concentrations of uranium minerals at relatively shallow depth. The quartz monzonite appears to be a more favorable host rock for the cryptocrystalline silica and associated uranium minerals than the alaskite. The alaskite occurs as vertical_dikes plug-like masses, and as irregularly shaped, gently dipping masses that are believed to have been intruded into open fractures formed during the cooling of the quartz monzonite.
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USGS Numbered Series
Geology of the area adjacent to the Free Enterprise uranium-silver Mine, Boulder District, Jefferson County, Montana