ABSTRACT

Carbonaceous debris (CD) within uranium-bearing strata has been studied in the Daying uranium deposit of the northern Ordos Basin, northern China. The influence of radiogenic heat from uranium on organic matter maturation was investigated through a series of tests including measurements of vitrinite reflectance (Ro), fission-track (FT) analysis in quartz grains, and the calculation of the radiogenic heat production rate of the samples. The results show that Ro in uranium-bearing strata generally increases as the burial depth increases, indicating that CD experienced normal burial coalification. However, Ro values of the samples rich in uranium are 0.062% Ro higher than those without uranium mineralization. Vitrinite reflectance bears a positive relationship with uranium content, and an inverse relationship with distance to the closest sandstone rich in uranium, indicating that uranium enrichment enhances organic matter maturation. The production of uranium decay makes FT observable in quartz grains, and the intensity of decay increases with proximity to the uranium ore body. The calculated radioactive heat production rate from the uranium ore body is 6.857 × 10−5 W/m3. During the long-term stable decay, as the uranium ore body theoretically results in an abnormal increase in temperature of 52°C without consideration of the loss of heat conduction, heat convection, and thermal radiation, this would yield a theoretical Ro increase of 0.209% Ro, reasonably greater than the observed. Therefore, the long-term stable radiogenic heat produced by uranium ore body can slightly enhance organic matter maturation, which is instructive in uranium prospecting.

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