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Exploration targets for sedimentary uranium ore bodies in the Texas Gulf Coastal Plain include: (1) favorable source rocks for uranium, (2) favorable conditions for uranium leached and transported out of the source rocks, and (3) favorable geologic characteristics of the host rocks for the accumulation of uranium of economic importance. However, data available from known deposits point out more questions of research than answers.
Mobility and accumulation of uranium of economic importance in host rocks are controlled by at least three factors--physical, chemical-mineralogic, and hydrologic--that interact dynamically. Physical factors include the nature (viscosity) of the transporting fluid, the permeability of host rock with respect to transporting solution in terms of medium rate, potential differentials, and temperature of the uranium-bearing solution in the macroenvironment. Chemical-mineralogic factors include the ionic strength of solution, chemical activities of species in the solution, chemical activities of pore water in host rocks, surface activity and surface energy of mineral constituents in host rocks, solubilities of ore and gangue minerals, pH, and Eh in the microenvironment. Hydrologic factors i clude fluctuation of the depth of the oxidation-reduction interfaces in the paleoaquifer host rocks, and their subsequent modification by present hydrologic factors.
Geochemical mechanisms that are likely to have been in operation for uranium accumulation are precipitation, adsorption, and/or complexing.
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