Remobilisation of uranium and thorium by ore-forming fluids: a mineralogical study. Available in 2 volumes.

  • Christopher M. Pointer

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


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
Date of Award1987
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJ. R. Ashworth (Supervisor)


  • Remobilisation
  • uranium
  • thorium
  • ore-forming fluids

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