Distribution of uranium in the Florida phosphate field

Trace Elements Investigations 85



Land-pebble phosphate, hard-rock phosphate, and river-pebble phosphate are the three types of phosphatic rock found in Florida. This report is concerned primarily with the land-pebble deposits, the only type which contains a significant amount of uranium. The most productive part of the land-pebble district is in Polk and Hillsborough Counties, in the west-central part of the Florida peninsula.

Phosphate occurs in both the Hawthorn formation of lower middle Miocene age and the Bone Valley formation of Pliocene age. The phosphate in the Bone Valley is generally of higher grade, probably as the result of mechanical reworking and further precipitation during submergence in Pliocene time. In a few places, leached parts of the Hawthorn formation are also of minable grade. , Pleistocene terrace deposits and beach sands unconformably overlie the Bone Valley.

In Polk and Hillsborough Counties, the high-grade part of the land-pebble phosphate district, uranium occurs principally in the Bone Valley formation and is concentrated in the upper part of the formation, which has been leached by ground water. The maximum tenor found to date is 0.1 percent uranium. The basal member of the Bone Valley has a maximum grade of .02 percent uranium, and averages about .01 percent uranium. Fresh, unweathered Hawthorn formation has little or no uranium, but leached Hawthorn, rich in P2O5, contains a maximum of 0.01 percent uranium. The Pleistocene sands have no uranium except where they contain reworked phosphatic material from the Bone Valley formation.

South of the high- grade district, in Manatee and Hardee Counties, the Bone Valley, Hawthorn, and Pleistocene formations contain only very minor amounts of uranium.

The uranium in the land-pebble deposits was probably syngenetic in origin. Subsequent leaching of soluble material has resulted in residual enrichment of uranium. The uranium seems to be associated with the phosphate mineral.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Distribution of uranium in the Florida phosphate field
Series title Trace Elements Investigations
Series number 85
DOI 10.3133/tei85
Year Published 1949
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: 18 p.; 2 Plates: 29.24 x 15.13 inches and 31.67 x 21.48 inches
Country United States
State Florida
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