Progress report on the Happy Jack mine, Which Canyon area, San Juan county, Utah

Trace Elements Memorandum 645

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



The Happy Jack mine is in the White Canyon area, San Juan county, Utah. Production is from high-grade uranium deposits in the Shinarump conglomerate of the Triassic age. In this area the Shinarump beds range from about 16 to 40 feet in thickness and the lower part of these beds fills an east-trending channel this is note than 750 feet wide and 10 feet deep. The Shinarump conglomerate consists of beds of coarse- to fine-grained quartzose sandstone, conglomerate, siltstone, and claystone. Carbonized wood is abundant in these beds, and in the field it was classified as mineral charcoal and coal. Intra-Shinarump channels, cross-stratification, current lineation, and slumping and compaction structures have been recognized in the mine. Steeply dipping fractures have dominant trends in four directions -- N 65°W, N 60°E, N 85°E, and due north. Uranium occurs as bedded deposits, as replacement bodies in accumulations of "trash", and as replacements of larger fragments of wood. An "ore shoot" is formed where the three types of uranium deposits occur together; these ore shoots appear to be elongate masses with sharp boundaries. Uranium minerals include uraninite, sooty pitchblende(?), and the sulfate--betazippeite, johannite, and uranopilite. Associated with the uraninite are the sulfide minerals covellite, bornite, chalcopyritw, and pyrite. Galena and sphalerite have been found in close association with uranium minerals. The gaunge minerals include: limonite and hematite present in most of the sandstone beds throughout the deposit, jarosite that impregnates much of the sandstone in the outer parts of the mine workings, gypsum that fills many of the fractures, and barite that impregnates the sandstone in at least one part of the mine. Secondary copper minerals, mainly copper sulfates, occur throughout the mine, but most abundant near the adits in the outermost 30 feet of the workings. The minerals comprising the bulk of the country rock include quartz, feldspar, and clay minerals. The amount of uranium minerals deposited in a sandstone bed is believed to have been determined by the position of the bed in the channel, the permeability of the sandstone in the bed, and the amount of carbonized wood and plant remains within the bed. The beds considered most favorable for uranium deposition contain an abundance of claystone and siltstone both as matrix filling and as fragments and pebbles. Suggested exploration guides from uranium ore bodies include the following: (1) interbedded siltstone lenses, (2) claystone and siltstone cement and pabbles, (3) concentrations of "trash", (4) covelllite and bornite, (5) chalcopyrite, and (6) carbonized wood.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Progress report on the Happy Jack mine, Which Canyon area, San Juan county, Utah
Series title:
Trace Elements Memorandum
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Report: 20 p.; 2 Plates: 14.86 x 23.81 inches and 14.98 x 23.95 inches
United States
San Juan County
Other Geospatial:
Happy Jack Mine
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