Abstract

The Elliot Lake – Blind River, Ontario, paleoplacer deposits in the basal Matineda Formation, lowermost member of the 2.25–2.45 Ga old Huronian Supergroup, contain organic matter chemically consistent with kerogen. This substance is also referred to as thucholite. Uranium ores and some gold occur here, and these minerals may be in close association with the kerogen. Two uraniferous and auriferous stratiform kerogens, obtained from the Denison Mines Limited's Denison mine and Rio Algom Limited's Stanleigh mine, have been analyzed by combined high-vacuum pyrolysis – gas chromatography – mass spectrometry and by neutron activation. The reflectances of these samples have also been determined. Related samples containing dispersed kerogen have been examined by backscattered scanning electron microscopy. The polymer-like matrix of the two stratiform kerogens consists of aromatic, alkyl aromatic hydrocarbon, and sulphur moieties and contains 20 and 32% uranium with gold abundances in the parts per billion range. The reflectances of the two stratiform kerogens are generally higher than those of the dispersed kerogens; the atomic H/C ratios of the former are −0.6 and −0.4. Backscattered scanning electron microscopy and petrographic observations reveal a complex diagenetic history. Stratigraphic position and supportive analytical data suggest that the stratiform kerogens were probably derived from ancient mats of cyanobacteria, subjected to various radiation-induced reactions, and, at least in part, were affected in a manner similar to the surrounding rocks. The latter experienced physical and chemical diagenetic reactions, which often caused repeated mineral fracturing and led to the local development of authigenic carbonates and feldspar. Some of the chemical nature and history of the stratiform kerogens resemble those of the Witwatersrand carbon seam kerogens.

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