Occurrences of uranium-bearing minerals in the St. Kevin District, Lake County, Colorado

Trace Elements Investigations 234
By:  and 



Two hundred and seventy-one prospect pits, mine dumps, or mine workings within the Sugar Loaf-St. Kevin mining districts and vicinity were tested for radioactivity by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1951 during six weeks of investigation on behalf of the Division of Raw Materials of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. One hundred and twenty-two weak radioactivity anomalies were found in the St. Kevin district and vicinity, and eight slight anomalies were noted in the Sugar Loaf district, which adjoins the St. Kevin district on the south.  Most of the radioactivity anomalies were found in igneous and metamorphic rocks of pre-Cambrian age, but some were found in metalliferous veins of Tertiary age.  Samples of altered granite or schist contain as much as 0.065 percent uranium, probably in the form of secondary uranium minerals. Samples of vein material contain as much as 0.013 percent uranium, also probably in the form of secondary uranium minerals.

At only a few localities has the identity of the uranium-bearing minerals been determined.  Torbernite, associated with turquoise, malachite, and chrysocolla, occurs as disseminations and fracture coatings in altered granite at the Josie May turquoise mine; metatobernite is disseminated in granite at the Turquoise Chief mine. Commonly the limonite-stained fractures in the altered granite and schist are radioactive; metatorbernite has been identified in limonite stain at one locality. A uranium-variety of florencite, a hydrous cerium aluminum phosphate, is disseminated in the granite on the dump of a mine just west of the St. Kevin district, and autunite (?) is disseminated in fine-grained, highly silicified rock in the northeastern part of the St. Kevin district.

None of the uranium occurrences are of commercial importance. They are for the most part in non-glaciated terrane, which has been subjected to a very long period of weathering.  Thus, chemical leaching within the zone of weathering may have greatly reduced the uranium content of material near the surface, and occurrences of even small quantities of secondary uranium minerals might be related to stronger, primary concentrations at depth.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Occurrences of uranium-bearing minerals in the St. Kevin District, Lake County, Colorado
Series title Trace Elements Investigations
Series number 234
DOI 10.3133/tei234
Year Published 1953
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: 39 p.; 4 Plates: 21.88 x 17.03 inches or smaller
Country United States
State Colorado
County Lake County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details