Radioactive mineral springs and wells at 33 localities in the States of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico in the United States were sampled and studied to obtain geochemical data which might be used for U exploration. The major source of radioactivity at mineral spring sites is 226Ra. Minor amounts of 228Ra, 238U and 232Th are also present. Ra is presumed to have been selectively removed from possibly quite deep uranium-mineralized rock by hydrothermal solutions and is either precipitated at the surface or added to fresh surface water. In this way, the source rocks influence the geochemistry of the spring waters and precipitates. Characteristics of the spring waters at or near the surface are also affected by variations in total dissolved solids, alkalinity, temperature and co-precipitation. Spring precipitates, both hard and soft, consist of four major types: (1) calcite travertine; (2) iron- and arsenic-rich precipitates; (3) manganese- and barium-rich precipitates; and (4) barite, in some instances accompanied by S, Ra and U, if present in the spring water, are co-precipitated with the barite, Mn-Ba and Fe-As precipitates. Using parameters based on U and Ra concentrations in waters and precipitates springsite areas are tentatively rated for favourability as potential uraniferous areas. ?? 1977.
Additional publication details
Radioactive springs geochemical data related to uranium exploration