Geochemical dispersion of uranium in overburden-covered regions

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 804, 1979

JOHN J. BARAKSO, Min-En Laboratories Ltd., North Vancouver, B.C.

A summary of geochemical dispersion processes is presented. Secondary and tertiary dispersion of uranium was examined at several uranium prospects in British Columbia.The vertical migration of uranium from bedrock (primary dispersion) through overburden into the various soil horizons, and into snow and plants, was studied, and relationships were sought to explain the dispersion patterns in the secondary and tertiary environments. Soil developments were examined to obtain information on factors affecting the dispersion of uranium in soil profiles and tertiary substances; samples were analyzed for a number of elements.Biogeochemical data indicate that plant geochemistry is a possible exploration aid in areas of heavy overburden owing to the high selectivity of certain plants for specific elements. Some new data on the geochemistry of snow are discussed as a matter of research interest in the tertiary dispersion of uranium.Analytical techniques and problems are discussed, particularly extraction techniques, which must be carefully chosen to give reliable information on uranium dispersion.
Keywords: Exploration techniques, Mineral exploration, Geochemical exploration, Uranium exploration, Overburden, Rexspar deposit, Tyee Lake deposit, Day Creek deposit, Neutron activation, Soils, Snow geochemistry, Plant geochemistry, Stream sediments, Lake sediments, Waters, Dispersion, Acid digestion, Leaching.