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Title: Remobilisation of uranium and thorium by ore-forming fluids : a mineralogical study
Author: Pointer, Christopher M.
Awarding Body: University of Aston in Birmingham
Current Institution: Aston University
Date of Award: 1987
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Mineralogical investigations have determined the sites of u and Th associated with two radioelement-enriched granites from different geological settings. In the Ririwai ring complex, Nigeria, the u- and Th-bearing accessories have been greatly affected by post-magmatic alteration of the biotite granite. Primary thorite, zircon and monazite were altered to Zr(±Y)-rich thorite, partially metamict zircon (enriched in Th, U, Y, P, Fe, Mn, Ca) and an unidentified LREE-phase respectively, by pervasive fluids which later precipitated Zr-rich coffinite. More intense, localised alteration and albitisation completely remobilised primary accessories and gave rise to a distinctive generation of haematite- and uranothorite-enriched zircon with clear, Hi-enriched rims and xenotime overgrowths. In the Ririwai lode, microclinisation and later greisenisation locally remobilised or altered zircon and deposited Y-ricl1 coffinite and Y(±Zr)-rich thorite which was overgrown by traces of xenotime and LREE-phase(s) of complex and variable composition. Compositions indicating extensive solid-solution among thorite, coffinite, xenotime and altered zircon are probably metastable and formed at low temperatures. The widespread occurrence of REE-rich fluorite suggests that F-complexing aided the mobility of REE, Y, U, Th and Zr during late-magmatic to post-magmatic alteration, while uranyl-carbonate complexing may have occurred during albitisation. The Caledonian, Helmsdale granite in northern Scotland has undergone pervasive and localised hydrothermal alteration associated with U enrichment. Zircon xenocrysts, primary sphene and apatite contain a small.proportion of this U which is largely adsorbed on to secondary iron-oxide, TiOand phyllosilicates. Additional sites for U in the overlying, Lower Devonian Ousdale arkose include coffinite, secondary uranyl phosphates, hydrocarbon and traces of xenotime and unidentified LREE-phases. U may have been leached from the granite and deposited in the arkose, along channelways associated with the Helmsdale fault, by convecting, hydrothermal fluids.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Geology