Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Mineral resource potential map of the Vermilion Cliffs-Paria Canyon instant study area, Coconino County, Arizona, and Kane County, Utah

January 1, 1994

In general, the mineral potential of the study area is low; in the past the area has yielded only several hundred tons of uranium ore, and there have been a number of unsuccessful efforts to produce gold.

The generally small uraniferous deposits are in the Chinle Formation, mostly in the basal Shinarump Member, and mostly on the east side of the Paria Plateau. To the south and west, around the plateau, the Shinarump host rock pinches out or is present in only a few places, and the same relationships are likely below the plateau, where the host rocks are deeply buried, from 1,500 to 3,000 ft below the surface. These factors suggest the total uranium-copper-vanadium-silver potential to be very low.

Gold and mercury occur in very low concentrations in the clayey units of the Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle. Gold concentrations are 40 ppb and less, and the gold is present in very fine particles; recovery is very difficult. Overall, the mercury concentrations are so low that no realistic mineral resource potential can be estimated.

Nonmetallic mineral materials of possible value include limestone, flagstone, clay, and gravel, but they are of only local interest. No oil or gas resources are known in the study area. Coal resources within the area are nonexistent, but the Dakota Sandstone does contain coaly beds a few miles to the north.

Water is perhaps the most significant resource needed in the study area. A number of perennial springs support the few local ranchers and tourist facilities. Some ground water would be available below the plateau, but drilling depths would be more than 2,000 ft (600-700 m).

Citation Information

Publication Year 1982
Title Mineral resource potential map of the Vermilion Cliffs-Paria Canyon instant study area, Coconino County, Arizona, and Kane County, Utah
DOI 10.3133/mf1475D
Authors Alfred L. Bush, Michael Lane
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series Number 1475
Index ID mf1475D
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse