Reconnaissance of radioactive rocks of Maine

Trace Elements Investigations 68
Prepared by the Geological Survey for the United States Atomic Energy Commission
By:  and 



The state of Maine was traversed with car-mounted Geiger-Mueller equipment in the late summer of 1948 and the radioactivity of approximately 4,600 miles of road was logged.

All samples were analyzed, both in the field by comparing the radioactivity of each sample to the radioactivity of a stranded measured with a simple scaling modification of a portable counter, and in the Geological Survey’s Trace Elements Section Washington Laboratory. Differences between both types of analyses were negligible. The maximum equivalent uranium content of the most radioactive rocks thus analyzed was 0.008 percent. A 1,400-square-mile abnormally radioactive province in southwestern Maine was outlined.

The outcrop data obtained from car traversing are evaluated statistically. Cumulative frequency distribution curves are drawn to show the distribution of outcrops at various levels of radioactivity, and straight-line extensions are made to show to maximum probable grade for various rock types and areas in Maine. A maximum grade of 0.055 percent equivalent uranium is thus predicted for the entire state. This prediction necessarily is a broad generalization because large areas of Main are inaccessible for car traversing. A concept of evaluation of an area for possible mineral deposits is proposed on the basis of lithology, and observed and indicated ranges in grade.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Reconnaissance of radioactive rocks of Maine
Series title Trace Elements Investigations
Series number 68
DOI 10.3133/tei68
Year Published 1951
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: 43 p.; 1 Plate: 15.49 x 23.65 inches
Country United States
State Maine
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details