Saturday, September 04, 2010

Breccia pipe uranium deposits in northern Arizona

Don Bills, with the USGS, summarized some of the results in the study they released back in February on the northern Arizona uranium province.

The study had been available online, but the hard copy has recently been printed and distributed. [right, breccia pipes, mines, and related features in northern Arizona. Plate 1, USGS Scientific Investigation Report 2010-5025]

Don listed the amounts of uranium in each of the three areas of federal lands temporarily withdrawn from exploration and mining by the Secretary of Interior:

Northern area = 92,000 tons
Eastern area = 22,000 tons
Southern area = 49,000 tons

For comparison, Don noted that 1 ton of uranium produces energy equal to 40 million kilowatt-hours, which would require 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil.

Don pointed out that most water tables in the region are about 1,000 feet below the uranium-bearing zone in the breccia pipes, but there are perched water tables in some areas that have the potential to be impacted by mining.

Ref: Donald Bills, Geologic and hydrologic site characterization of breccia pipe uranium deposits in northern Arizona

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