The Paradox quadrangle is one of eighteen 7 1/2-minute quadrangles covering the principal carnotite-producing area of southwestern Colorado. The geology of these quadrangles was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey for the Atomic Energy Commission as part of a comprehensive study of carnotite deposits. The rocks exposed in the eighteen quadrangles consist of crystalline rocks of pre-Cambrian age and sedimentary rocks that range in age from late Paleozoic to Quaternary. Over much of the area the sedimentary rocks are flat lying, but in places the rocks are disrupted by high-angle faults, and northwest-trending folds. Conspicuous among the folds are large anticlines having cores of intrusive salt and gypsum. Most of the carnotite deposits are confined to the Salt Wash sandstone member of the Jurassic Morrison formation, Within this sandstone, most of the deposits are spottily distributed through an arcuate zone known as the "Uravan Mineral Belt". Individual deposits range in size from irregular masses containing only a few tons of ore to large, tabular masses containing thousands of tons. The ore consists largely of sandstone selectively impregnated and in part replaced by uranium and vanadium minerals. Most of the deposits appear to be related to certain sedimentary structures in sandstones of favorable composition.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Geology of the Paradox quadrangle, Montrose county, Colorado