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Open AccessArticle

Geochronology of Uraninite Revisited

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
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Minerals 2020, 10(3), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030205
Received: 15 January 2020 / Revised: 21 February 2020 / Accepted: 22 February 2020 / Published: 25 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Forensic Applications in Geoscience and Radiochemistry)
Identification of uraninite provenance for the purpose of nuclear forensics requires a multifaceted approach. Various geochemical signatures, such as chondrite normalized rare earth element patterns, help identify and limit the potential sources of uraninite based on the geological setting of the uranium ore mineralization. The inclusion of accurate age determinations to discriminate geochemical signatures for natural uranium ores may help to potentially restrict geographical areas for provenance consideration. Determining a robust age for uraninite formation is somewhat difficult, due to well known, inherent difficulties associated with open system behavior that involve either uranium and/or lead loss or gain. However, open system behavior should not perturb their Pb isotopic compositions to the same degree as Pb isotopes should not fractionate during alteration processes. Here, a suite of pristine and altered samples of uraninite was examined for their Pb isotope compositions, and these yielded geologically meaningful secondary Pb–Pb isochron ages. The degree of alteration within individual uraninite samples, which is extremely variable, does not appear to affect the calculated ages. The approach adopted here yields insightful age information, and hence, is of great value for source attribution in forensic analyses of raw nuclear materials. View Full-Text
Keywords: uraninite; Pb–Pb isochron; nuclear forensics uraninite; Pb–Pb isochron; nuclear forensics
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Corcoran, L.; Simonetti, A. Geochronology of Uraninite Revisited. Minerals 2020, 10, 205.

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