Reconnaissance for radioactive materials in northeastern United States during 1952

Trace Elements Investigations 317

This report concerns work done on behalf of the Division of Raw Materials of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission



Reconnaissance for radioactive materials was made in parts of Maine, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The primary objective was to examine the iron ore deposits and associated rocks in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Highlands of New Jersey. In addition, several deposits known or reported to contain radioactive minerals were examined to delimit their extent. Most of the deposits examined are not significant as possible sources of radioactive elements and the data pertaining to them are summarized in table form.

Deposits that do warrant more description than can be given in table form are: Benson Mines, St. Lawrence County, N. Y.; Rutgers mine, Clinton County, N. Y.; Mineville Mines, Essex County, N. Y.l Canfield phosphate mine, Morris County, N. J.; Mullgan quarry, Hunterdon County, N. J.; and the Chestnut Hill-Marble Mountain area, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Old Bed in the Mineville district is the only deposit that may be economically significant. Apatite from Old Bed ore contains as much as 4.9 percent total rare earth. 0.04 percent thorium, and 0.018 percent uranium.

Magnetite ore at the Rutgers mine contains radioactive zircon and apatite. Radioactivity measurements of outcrops and dump material show that the ore contains from 0.005 to 0.010 percent equivalent uranium. One sample of lean magnetite ore contains 0.006 percent equivalent uranium.

Garnet-rich zones in the Benson Mines magnetite deposit contain as much as 0.017 equivalent uranium. Most of the rock and ore, however, contains about 0.005 percent equivalent uranium. Available data indicate that the garnet-rich zones are enriched in radioactive allanite.

A shear zone in the Kittatinny limestone of Cambrian age at the Mulligan quarry contains uraniferous material. Radioactivity anomalies elsewhere in the quarry and in adjacent fields indicate that there may be other uraniferous shear zones. Assays of samples and measurements of outcrop radioactivity indicate that the uranium content of these zones is low; samples contain from 0.008 to 0.068 percent equivalent uranium. The anomalies, however, may indicate greater concentrations of uranium below surficial leached zones.

The Chestnut Hill-Marble Mountain area contains radioactivity anomalies for about 2 miles along the strike of the contact of pre-Cambrian Pickering gneiss and Franklin limestone formations. In places this contact is injected with pegmatite, which probably was the source of the radioelements. The most favorable area for further study is at Marble Mountain, where a nearly continuous anomaly extends for about 1500 feet. Samples from part of this area contain as much as 0.044 percent equivalent uranium and 0.005 percent uranium. Radioactive hematite and florencite, in which thorium may have substituted for cerium, are the only radioactive minerals observed in the Marble Mountain area.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Reconnaissance for radioactive materials in northeastern United States during 1952
Series title:
Trace Elements Investigations
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Report: 72 p.; 2 Plates: 10.66 x 15.59 inches and 17.06 x 14.93 inches
Time Range Start:
Time Range End:
United States
New Jersey;New York;Pennsylvania