This study focuses attention on Cenozoic sedimentary rocks in the Basin and Range Province of Arizona. The known occurrences of uranium and anomalous radioactivity in these rocks are associated with sediments that accumulated in a low energy environment characterized by fine-grained clastics, including important tuffaceous materials, and carbonate rocks. Most uranium occurrences, in these rocks appear to be stratabound.
Emphasis was placed on those sedimentary materials that pre-date the late Cenozoic Basin and Range disturbance. They are deformed and crop out on pedimented range blocks and along the province interface with the Transition Zone. Three tentative age groups are recognized: Group I - Oligocene, pre-22 m.y., Group II - early Miocene - 22 m.y. - 16 m.y., and Group III - middle Miocene - 16 m.y. to 13--10 m.y. Regionally, these three groups contain both coarse to fine-grained red clastics and low energy lighter colored 'lacustrine' phases.
Each of the three groups has been the object of uranium exploration. Group II, the early Miocene strata, embraces the Anderson Mine - Artillery region host rocks and also the New River - Cave Creek early Miocene beds-along the boundary with the Transition Zone.
These three groups of rocks have been tectonically deformed to the extent that original basins of deposition cannot yet be reconstructed. However, they were considerably more extensive in size than the late Cenozoic basins the origin of which deformed the former.
Group II rocks are judged to be of prime interest because of: (1) the development and preservation of organic matter in varying lithologies, (2) apparent contemporaneity with silicic volcanic centers, (3) influence of Precambrian crystalline rocks, and (4) relative outcrop continuity near the stable Transition Zone. The Transition Zone, especially along its boundary with the Basin and Range Province, needs additional geologic investigation, especially as regards the depositional continuity of Group II sediment s.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
A study of uranium favorability of Cenozoic sedimentary rocks, Basin and Range Province, Arizona: Part I, General geology and chronology of pre-late Miocene Cenozoic sedimentary rocks