Relation of Diagenetic Alteration and Soil-Forming Processes to the Uranium Deposits of the Southeast Texas Coastal Plain1

Alice D. Weeks and D. Hoye Eargle
U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas

Abstract: The Upper Eocene Jackson Group is the chief host rock of the uranium deposits in the Karnes area of the southeast Texas Coastal Plain. It is highly tuffaceous and the uranium deposits are within approximately 100 ft of the unconformity with the overlying Catahoula Tuff (Miocene ?). Glass shards, fragments of sanidine and plagioclase, grains of fine-grained volcanic rocks, and biotite and other minerals in these sediments were highly reactive chemically, causing complex diagenetic alteration and the development of alkaline carbonate pore water. Extensive caliche development and silica induration associated with a recent hotter, drier climate favored the concentration of uranium. The origin of these shallow uranium deposits is believed to have been controlled by the complex diagenesis of the highly reactive volcanic detritus, by development of a “built-in” solvent for uranium (the alkaline carbonate pore water), and by climatic, structural, and permeability conditions that allowed concentration and deposition of uranium rather than dilution and dispersal. The tuffaceous rocks are considered to have been the source of the uranium and associated molybdenum, phosphorus, and arsenic.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1961 v. 10; no. 1; p. 23-41; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1961.0100104
© 1961, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)