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Wyoming-type roll-front uranium deposits occur in the Upper Cretaceous Laramie and Fox Hills sandstones in the Cheyenne basin of northeastern Colorado. The location, geometry, and trend of specific depositional environments of the Oligocene White River and the Upper Cretaceous Laramie and Fox Hills formations are important factors that control the distribution of uranium in these sandstones.
The Fox Hills Sandstone consists of up to 450 ft (140 m) of nearshore marine wave-dominated delta and barrier island-tidal channel sandstones which overlie offshore deposits of the Pierre Shale and which are overlain by delta-plain and fluvial deposits of the Laramie Formation. Uranium, which probably originated from volcanic ash in the White River Formation, was transported by groundwater through the fluvial-channel deposits of the White River into the sandstones of the Laramie and Fox Hills formations where it was precipitated.
Two favorable depositional settings for uranium mineralization in the Fox Hills Sandstone are: (1) the landward side of barrier-island deposits where barrier sandstones thin and interfinger with back-barrier organic mudstones, and (2) the intersection of barrier-island and tidal channel sandstones. In both settings, sandstones were probably reduced during early burial by diagenesis of contained and adjacent organic matter. The change in permeability trends between the depositional strike-oriented barrier sandstones and the dip-oriented tidal-channel sandstones provided sites for dispersed groundwater flow and, as demonstrated in similar settings in other depositional systems, sites for uranium mineralization.
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