Selected fluvial monazite deposits in the southeastern United States

Open-File Report 71-222
By: , and 



Farther southwest in Georgia, around Griffin and Zebullon, along streams tributary to the Flint River in the monazite belt the flood plains are generally small and discontinuous, and only about 1 percent of the sediment is gravel. The area between Griffin, Zebullon, and the Flint River is underlain by biotite schist and biotite gneiss into which biotite granite has been intruded. Only along one stream, Flat Creek, which drains monazite-bearing granite near Zetella, Ga., are the tenors in monazite even moderately high, but a combination of thick, clayey overburden and discontinuous flood plains make the stream unsuitable for placer mining. Elsewhere in the Flint River area the heavy-mineral concentrates contain less than 1 percent monazite. The southwesternmost area in which reconnaissance of the monazite belt was conducted includes a groups of southwest-flowing tributaries to the Chattahoochee River north of Pine Mountain and near La Grange, Ga. A combination of three characteristics of the alluvium make the area unfavorable for mining: (1) the upper half of the sedimentary sequence is clay and silt, (2) there is scant gravel, and (3) much of the sand is fine grained. Monazite is associated with the Snelson Granite, schists, and gneisses north of the Towaliga fault, but even in this area the tenor of most riffle sediments is only 0.1 to 0.5 pound of monazite per cubic yard, and the average tenor of the alluvium is about 0.2 pound per cubic Yard. Rocks south of the Towaliga fault contain scant monazite. The monazite-bearing area in the drainage basin of the Chattahoochee River has no monazite placers. Evidence from the areas on the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers shows that streams in western Georgia are a much poorer source of monazite than streams farther to the northeast in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Also, the northeastern part of the belt in the drainage basins of the Yadkin and Dan Rivers is a poorer source for monazite than the area between the Savannah and Catawba Rivers, S.C.-N.C. Monazite-bearing crystalline rocks in the western belt contain about 0.06 pound of monazite per cubic yard. Residual soil derived from the crystalline rocks contains about 0.3 to 0.4 pound of monazite per cubic yard, and colluvial sediments formed by sheet-wash from saprolite, residual soil, and, rarely, old stream deposits, have an average of 3.1 pounds of monazite to the cubic yard. The data on the tenors of residual and colluvial deposits are far less comprehensive than those an the quantity of monazite in the crystalline rocks, but the tenors are probably of the correct order of magnitude. Neither the crystalline rocks nor the residual soils are ores of monazite. Because the colluvial deposits are thin and have patch distribution they could not be mined independently, but some colluvium could be stripped from the adjoining hills in conjunction with the mining of alluvial deposits in the valleys. It is most unlikely that alluvial monazite placers have formed in the trunk streams leading southeastward out of the monazite belt. Churn drilling on the Broad and North Tyger Rivers, South Carolina, at the east edge of the belt has shown that the bulk of the alluvium is fine-grained sediment that contains 0.2 to 0.4 pound of monazite per cubic yard--tenors that represent no considerable enrichment over those in the crystalline rocks and residual soils. The probable persistence of predominantly fine-grained alluvium downstream to the Coastal Plain and the certain dilution of monazite-bearing concentrates by the inflow of monazite-free suites of heavy minerals between the belt and the fall line suggest that the trunk streams east of the belt are the least favorable sources for alluvial monazite in the Piedmont?

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Selected fluvial monazite deposits in the southeastern United States
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 71-222
DOI 10.3133/ofr71222
Edition -
Year Published 1971
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey,
Description iv, 108 leaves :4 folded maps ;27 cm.
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