Traverses along some streams of the Colorado Plateau in areas known to contain minable uranium deposits show that anomalous radiation in the stream gravels can be detected with a suitable counter downstream from the deposits. The amount of radiation is influenced by the size of the uranium deposit, the size of the drainage area of the stream, the grain size of the sediments, and the lithology of the rocks over which the stream flows. The spacing of the stations where readings are taken is controlled by the size of the stream, and special readings are also taken directly downstream from important tributaries. An anomaly is empirically defined as a 10 percent rise over background. Radioactive material from large uranium deposits has been detected as much as 1 mile downstream. Radioactive material from smaller deposits is detachable over shorter distances. The method is slow but appears to be a useful prospecting tool under restricted conditions.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
A study of radioactivity in modern stream gravels and its possible application as a prospecting method
Trace Elements Memorandum
U.S. Geological Survey
Emery County;Grand County;San Juan County
Corral Canyon;Seven Mile Area;Colorado River;Colorado Plateau;Temple Mountain Area;San Rafael District;White Canyon Area