A reconnaissance search for uraniferous lignite and carbonaceous shale was made in western Montana and adjacent parts of Idaho during the summer of 1951. Particular emphasis in the examination was placed on coal and carbonaceous shale associated with volcanic rocks, as volcanic rocks in many area appear to have released uranium to circulating ground water from which it was concentrated in carbonaceous material. Twenty-two area in Montana and one area of Idaho were examine. The coal in five of these area is of Cretaceous age. The coal and carbonaceous shale in the remaining 18 area occur in Tertiary "lake-bed" deposits of Oligocene and younger age. Both the Cretaceous and Tertiary coal and carbonaceous shale are associated with contemporaneous or younger volcanic rocks and pyroclastic sequences. A sample of carbonaceous shale from the Prickly Pear Valley northeast of Helena, Montana, contained 0.013 percent uranium. A sample of carbonaceous shale from the Flint Creek Valley southwest of Drummond, Montana, contained 0.006 percent uranium. All other samples of both Cretaceous and Tertiary coal and carbonaceous shale were essentially non-radioactive. No further work is planned on the Cretaceous and Tertiary coal and carbonaceous shale in western Montana. A few localities in Idaho will be visited in the course of other work.
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Results of reconnaissance for uraniferous coal, lignite, and carbonaceous shale in western Montana