Hydrothermal Alteration in Hydro-Fractured Athabasca Basin Sandstone: Distal Expression of Uranium Mineralization?
Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2013
JEANNE B. PERCIVAL, SEAN A. BOSMAN, ERIC G. POTTER, PAUL RAMAEKERS, KATHERINE E. VENANCE, PAT A. HUNT, WILLIAM DAVIS, AND CHARLES W. JEFFERSON
A 10-cm thick clay-rich layer near the top of the Manitou Falls Formation of the Athabasca Group is unusual in its breccia texture, alteration, and detrital mineral composition relative to the adjacent overlying and underlying sedimentary beds. This layer is composed of angular quartz grains set in an illite >> kaolinite + dickite matrix. Deformed clay-rich fragments within the layer have very similar mineral assemblages. The presence of euhedral accessory minerals including Ti-oxides and aluminophosphatesulphate minerals points to a diagenetic/hydrothermal origin. The presence of individual grains of Kfeldspar and amphibole is unusual relative to the typical Athabasca quartz arenite; originally, these minerals were probably included in detrital quartz and subsequently liberated during fracturing. The textures and alteration characteristics suggest that this layer is a hydraulically-fractured unit, which has experienced hydrothermal fluid alteration — a possible pathway distally related to uranium mineralization.
microbreccia, hydrothermal alteration, hydraulic fracturing, uranium mineralization