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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 64 (1980)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 766

Last Page: 767

Title: Helium Surveying for Deeply Buried Uranium Deposits: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Louis A. Pogorski, G. Stewart Quirt

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Helium emanometry is rapidly becoming a widely employed exploration tool in searching for deeply buried uranium deposits. It has been used in many uraniferous and potentially uraniferous regions including the Colorado Plateau, Texas Gulf Coast, Wyoming, Appalachian orogenic belt, Athabasca basin, and Canadian Northwest Territories.

Helium escaping from radioactive mineral deposits can be detected and serves as a guide to the location of uranium ore. This gas is an almost ideal geochemical indicator of uranium because it is inert, stable, slightly

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soluble in ground fluids, practically non-adsorbable, highly mobile, and a direct product of radioactive decay.

The technique can be applied by collecting Previous HitsoilNext Hit, Previous HitsoilNext Hit gas, water or bottom sediment samples in reconnaissance, and semi-detailed and detailed arrays under a wide range of environmental conditions. Helium analyses are made by gas-source mass spectrometry. The resultant data are interpreted and presented with the aid of computers. In interpreting the helium data, it is necessary to consider the effect of some parameters which must be determined for each sample.

Helium anomalies have been found in near-surface Previous HitsoilNext Hit and Previous HitsoilTop gas over known sandstone-type deposits in New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming; hydrothermal(?) ore in Washington; unconformity-type mineralization in the Athabasca basin; and pegmatitic ore zones in Ontario. Anomalies have also been detected in lake bottom water and sediment overlying these types of deposits and in the groundwater recovered from wells and boreholes located close to them. The results from resurveys over several of these deposits indicate that even though the magnitude of the helium anomalies may vary from season to season, the anomalies themselves persist and hence define the location of the mineralization. This technique therefore seems to offer great promise as an economical indicator of deeply buried uranium eposits in a wide range of geologic environments.

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