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Abstract

This drilling project included 12 holes along a north-south-trending line from Mariano Lake to Lake Valley, New Mexico, near the southern margin of the San Juan basin. Of a total 33,075 ft (10,088 m) drilled, 4,550 ft (1,388 m) were cored in the strati- graphic interval that included the basal part of the Dakota Sandstone, the Brushy Basin and Westwater Canyon Members of the Morrison Formation, and the upper part of the Recapture Member of the Morrison Formation.

The project objectives were (1) to provide cores and geophysical logs for study of the sedimentology, petrography, geochemistry, and mineralization in the uranium- bearing Westwater Canyon Member; (2) to provide control for a detailed seismic study of Morrison stratigraphy and basement structures; (3) to define and correlate the stratigraphy of Cretaceous coal-bearing units; (4) to supply background data for studies of ground-water flow pattern and ground-water quality; and (5) to provide data to aid resource assessment of uranium and coal.

The project design included selection of (1) drill-hole locations to cross known ore and depositional trends in the Morrison Formation; (2) a coring interval to include the uranium-bearing unit and adjacent units; geophysical logs for lithologic correlations, quantitative evaluation of uranium mineralization, qualitative detection of coal beds, preparation of synthetic seismograms, and magnetic susceptibility studies of alteration in the Morrison; and (3) a high-salinity mud program to enhance core recovery.

A regional stratigraphic correlation chart, brief lithologic descriptions, and descriptions of geophysical log responses of units in and adjacent to the cored interval aided in the interpretation of a geophysical log correlation diagram. Uranium mineralization was detected in four drill holes; coal beds and carbonaceous shales were encountered in all holes; and artesian flows of oil mixed with water were encountered in two holes.

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