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Minerals 2016, 6(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6010003

Uranium-Series Disequilibria in the Groundwater of the Shihongtan Sandstone-Hosted Uranium Deposit, NW China

1
Department of Earth Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Mineral Deposit research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
2
Bureau of Geology, China National Nuclear Corporation, Beijing 100013, China
3
Northwest Institute of Uranium Geology, China National Nuclear Corporation, Xianyang 712000, China
4
Department of Geological Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karen Hudson-Edwards
Received: 7 October 2015 / Revised: 6 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 30 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact)
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Abstract

Uranium (U) concentration and the activities of 238U, 234U, and 230Th were determined for groundwaters, spring waters, and lake water collected from the Shihongtan sandstone-hosted U ore district and in the surrounding area, NW China. The results show that the groundwaters from the oxidizing aquifer with high dissolved oxygen concentration (O2) and oxidation-reduction potential (Eh) are enriched in U. The high U concentration of groundwaters may be due to the interaction between these oxidizing groundwaters and U ore bodies, which would result in U that is not in secular equilibrium. Uranium is re-precipitated as uraninite on weathered surfaces and organic material, forming localized ore bodies in the sandstone-hosted aquifer. The 234U/238U, 230Th/234U, and 230Th/238U activity ratios (ARs) for most water samples show obvious deviations from secular equilibrium (0.27–2.86), indicating the presence of water-rock/ore interactions during the last 1.7 Ma and probably longer. The 234U/238U AR generally increases with decreasing U concentrations in the groundwaters, suggesting that mixing of two water sources may occur in the aquifer. This is consistent with the fact that most of the U ore bodies in the deposit have a tabular shape originati from mixing between a relatively saline fluid and a more rapidly flowing U-bearing meteoric water. View Full-Text
Keywords: sandstone-hosted uranium deposit; groundwater; U-series disequilibrium; China sandstone-hosted uranium deposit; groundwater; U-series disequilibrium; China
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Peng, X.; Min, M.; Qiao, H.; Wang, J.; Fayek, M. Uranium-Series Disequilibria in the Groundwater of the Shihongtan Sandstone-Hosted Uranium Deposit, NW China. Minerals 2016, 6, 3.

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