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The economic importance, the dissimilarity in chemical behavior of its two oxidation states, and the unique usefulness of its radioactive daughter products make uranium and its geochemistry extremely interesting to earth scientists. The Gulf of Mexico has the attractive feature of being a semi-closed system that offers the possibility of complete monitoring of all input and removal processes for trace elements such as uranium. Experimental values obtained in this study of the geochemical cycle of uranium in the Gulf of Mexico are as follows:
Ranges of Amounts and Isotopic Composition of Uranium
High uranium concentrations in midwest USA rivers relative to other rivers of the world can be explained by solubilization of the uranium in phosphate fertilizers applied to the land surface. Estimated pre-fertilizer uranium input to the Gulf of Mexico is nearly balanced by uranium co-deposition with carbonates on the Yucatan shelf.
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