Sandstone-type uranium deposits at Ambrosia Lake, New Mexico-An interim report

Economic Geology
By: , and 



The Ambrosia Lake district in northwestern New Mexico is the most important uranium mining and milling district in the United States. Together with the nearby Laguna district it contains more than 50 percent of the nation's reserves.Most of the ore occurs in the Morrison formation of Late Jurassic age as elongate, tabular, mantolike bodies principally in the upper half of the Westwater Canyon sandstone member and near the base of the Poison Canyon sandstone tongue (9). Individual deposits are distributed along two easterly trending belts 2 to 3 miles apart. The ore bodies are as much as 3,000 feet long, several hundred feet wide, and 100 feet thick. Depths to the ore range from 0 to 2,200 feet. Some ore is also mined from the Todilto limestone of Late Jurassic age and from the Dakota sandstone of Early (?) and Late Cretaceous age.Two types of unoxidized ore are recognized: prefault ore, which is considered to be primary, and postfault ore, which may be redistributed. The prefault ore shows no obvious relationship to tectonic structures but appears to be controlled by a variety of sedimentary structures. Postfault ore is controlled by a combination of sedimentary and tectonic structures. Disseminated carbonaceous matter, believed to be plant derived, appears to be the dominant control in the localization of the uranium.The ore mineralogy is comparatively simple, and coffinite is by far the most abundant ore mineral. Molybdenum, selenium, vanadium, and iron occur in anomalous quantities in the deposits in both oxidized and unoxidized minerals.U/eU ratios and radioisotope distribution indicate almost universal disequilibrium and fairly recent migration of radioisotopes in all deposits that have been sampled.Further studies on the organic carbonaceous matter, sandstone alteration, age determinations, and sulfur isotope composition are required to obtain a better understanding of the source, transportation, and deposition of uranium and other elements in the deposits.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sandstone-type uranium deposits at Ambrosia Lake, New Mexico-An interim report
Series title Economic Geology
DOI 10.2113/gsecongeo.56.7.1179
Volume 56
Issue 7
Year Published 1961
Language English
Publisher Society of Economic Geologists
Description 32 p.
First page 1179
Last page 1210
Country United States
State New Mexico
Other Geospatial Ambrosia Lake
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