Uranium deposits at Shinarump Mesa and some adjacent areas in the Temple Mountain district, Emery County, Utah

Trace Elements Investigations 51

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



Deposits of uraniferous hydrocarbons are associated with carnotite in the Shinarump conglomerate of Triassic age at Shinarump Mesa and adjacent areas of the Temple Mountain district in the San Rafael Swell of Emery County, Utah. The irregular ore bodies of carnotite-bearing sandstone are genetically related to lenticular uraniferous ore bodies containing disseminated asphaltitic and humic hydrocarbon in permeable sandstones and were localized indirectly by sedimentary controls. Nearly non-uraniferous bitumen commonly permeates the sandstones in the Shinarump conglomerate and the underlying Moekopi formation in the area. The ore deposits at Temple Mountain have been altered locally by hydrothermal solutions, and in other deposits throughout the area carnotite has been transported by ground and surface water.

Uraniferous asphaltite is thought to be the non-volatile residue of an original weakly uraniferous crude oil that migrated into the San Rafael anticline; the ore metals concentrated in the asphaltite as the oil was devolatilized and polymerized. Carnotite is thought to have formed from the asphaltite by ground water leaching.

It is concluded that additional study of the genesis of the asphaltitic uranium ores in the San Rafael Swell, of the processes by which the hydrocarbons interact and are modified (such as heat, polymerization, and hydrogenation under the influence of alpha-ray bombardment), of petroleum source beds, and of volcanic intrusive rocks of Tertiary age are of fundamental importance in the continuing study of the uranium deposits on the Colorado Plateau.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Uranium deposits at Shinarump Mesa and some adjacent areas in the Temple Mountain district, Emery County, Utah
Series title:
Trace Elements Investigations
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Report: 91 p.; 3 Plates: 30.44 x 20.69 inches and smaller
United States
Emery County
Other Geospatial:
Temple Mountain