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Three GIS datasets defining areas permissive for the occurrence of uranium-bearing, solution-collapse breccia pipes in northern Arizona and southeast Utah

October 27, 2016

Some of the highest grade uranium (U) deposits in the United States are hosted by solution-collapse breccia pipes in the Grand Canyon region of northern Arizona. These structures are named for their vertical, pipe-like shape and the broken rock (breccia) that fills them. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of these structures exist. Not all of the breccia pipes are mineralized; only a small percentage of the identified breccia pipes are known to contain an economic uranium deposit. An unresolved question is how many undiscovered U-bearing breccia pipes of this type exist in northern Arizona, in the region sometimes referred to as the "Arizona Strip". Two principal questions remain regarding the breccia pipe U deposits of northern Arizona are: (1) What processes combined to form these unusual structures and their U deposits? and (2) How many undiscovered U deposits hosted by breccia pipes exist in the region? A piece of information required to answer these questions is to define the area where these types of deposits could exist based on available geologic information. In order to determine the regional processes that led to their formation, the regional distribution of U-bearing breccia pipes must be considered. These geospatial datasets were assembled in support of this goal.