Abstract

Computer-enhanced Landsat images of the southern Powder River Basin have been used to define facies and linear structural features within the Wasatch Formation. The facies distribution is detectable primarily because of a relation of vegetation density and type to the local substrate. The surface indications of facies are confirmed by sandstone/mudstone ratios determined from logs of abundant exploration drill holes. These newly defined geologic features are spatially related to known uranium mineral occurrences and are believed to be related to mineralization in the following ways. (1) Major uranium occurrences are virtually restricted to an intermediate grain-size facies of the Wasatch, probably marking the axial zone of the depositional basin. (2) The axial zone is also marked by a change from one structural lineament domain to another, and the structures may have influenced details of fluvial-system patterns and sedimentation and (subsequently) the flow of uranium-bearing ground water. (3) A recently active linear structure may mark the current basin axis; it appears to have some relationship both to ground-water chemistry and the distribution of uranium occurrences, suggesting structural influence on relatively modern ground-water transport and uranium deposition.

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