Unconformity-related uranium, Conceptual models, Reactive-flowmodeling, Thermal convection, Sedimentary rocks
The role of hydrodynamic factors in controlling the formation and location of unconformity-related uranium (URU) deposits in sedimentary basins during tectonically quiet periods is investigated. A number of reactive-flow modeling experiments at the deposit scale were carried out by assigning different dip angles and directions to a fault and various permeabilities to hydrostratigraphic units). The results show that the fault dip angle and direction, and permeability of the hydrostratigraphic units govern the convection pattern, temperature distribution, and uranium mineralization. Avertical fault results in uranium mineralization at the bottom of the fault within the basement, while a dipping fault leads to precipitation of uraninite below the unconformity either away from or along the plane of the fault, depending on the fault permeability. A more permeable fault causes uraninite precipitates along the fault plane,whereas a less permeable one gives rise to the precipitation of uraninite away from it. No economic ore mineralization can form when either very low or very high permeabilities are assigned to the sandstone or basement suggesting that these units seem to have an optimal window of permeability for the formation of uranium deposits. Physicochemical parameters also exert an additional control in both the location and grade of URU deposits. These results indicate that the difference in size and grade of different URU deposits may result from variation in fluid flow pattern and physicochemical conditions, caused by the change in structural features and hydraulic properties of the stratigraphic units involved.
Funding Reference Number
NSERC Discovery Grant CPI1237901
Aghbelagh, Yousef Beiraghdar and Yang, Jianwen. (2016). Role of hydrodynamic factors in controlling the formation and location of unconformity-related uranium deposits: insights from reactive-flow modeling. Hydrogeology Journal.