Abstract

A radiometric survey was carried out over clastic sediments in the immediate vicinity of some phosphatic sediments of Cretaceous age in the Wadi Qasser Al-Hallabat basin of central Syria. The objective was to explore for uranium and to define its dispersion pattern. This was based on ground radiometric surveys and geological studies. All ground surveys (using radon emanometry, track etching, gamma-ray survey and geochemistry) gave similar results, outlining the locations of the radioactive phosphatic formations in the basin, and indicating the dispersion pattern of uranium in the clastic sediments in the surrounding area. The dispersal of uranium from upper Cretaceous phosphatic formation occurs by mechanical weathering and chemical leaching by oxidizing surface waters. A rough estimate is that about one-third of the original uranium content of the Cretaceous sediments has been dispersed. Mechanical erosion is responsible for the main part of this released uranium, which now occurs in Recent sediments. However, the occurrences of spotty secondary U mineralization indicates that another small part of the available uranium must have been chemically leached out by the prevailing oxidizing waters, forming minor surficial minerals.

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