Estimation of Uranium Endowment in the Westwater Canyon Member, Morrison Formation, San Juan Basin, Using a Data-Directed Numerical Method
Published:January 01, 1986
Richard B. McCammon, Warren I. Finch, John O. Kork, Nancy J. Bridges, 1986. "Estimation of Uranium Endowment in the Westwater Canyon Member, Morrison Formation, San Juan Basin, Using a Data-Directed Numerical Method", A Basin Analysis Case Study: The Morrison Formation, Grants Uranium Region, New Mexico, Christine E. Turner-Peterson, Elmer S. Santos, Neil S. Fishman
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A newly developed data-directed numerical method is used to estimate the undiscovered uranium endowment of the Westwater Canyon Member of the Morrison Formation in the San Juan basin, New Mexico. Data from 1,800 geophysical logs, chip samples from 40 test wells, and 40 measured surface sections provided the basic geologic information. Using these data, we evaluated the favorability of uranium concentration in each of 2,068 cells defined within the basin. Favorability was based on the correlated similarity of the geologic characteristics of each cell to the geologic characteristics of five deposit models. Estimates of the undiscovered endowment for each cell were categorized according to deposit type, depth, cutoff grade, and resource area. The undiscovered uranium endowment of the Westwater Canyon Member is estimated at 2.6 x 106 tonnes U3O8 with an estimated error equal to 0.25 x 106 tonnes of U3O8. This estimate is roughly twice that obtained by the U.S. Department of Energy in the NURE program. The total uranium endowment, which is the sum of the discovered and undiscovered endowments, is estimated to be 3.5 x 106 tonnes of U3O8.
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A Basin Analysis Case Study: The Morrison Formation, Grants Uranium Region, New Mexico
This volume summarizes results of a U.S. Geological Survey multidisciplinary basin analysis research effort that encompasses all aspects of the geology of the Morrison Formation in the Grants uranium region, located in the San Juan basin of northwestern New Mexico, U.S.A. Tectonic, stratigraphic, sedimentologic, structural, petrographic, mineralogic, geochemical, and resource studies are drawn together to provide a geologic synthesis of the Jurassic Morrison Formation, the main uranium host rock in the region, and to provide background data for the formulation of genetic models for ore genesis. The result is a compendium of 21 papers that incorporates many recent and significant advances in our understanding of factors that favored uranium mineralization in the Morrison, and several new genetic models that incorporate these recent advances. The basin analysis approach used here has proved fruitful in that ore genesis can now be viewed in the context of the evolution of a sedimentary basin rather than as an isolated event. This approach to ore genesis has application not only to uranium deposits but also to all sediment-hosted ore deposits.