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Progress report of southeastern monazite exploration, 1952

January 1, 1953

Reconnaissance of placer monazite during the field season of 1952 covered 6,600 square miles drained by streams in the western Piedmont of Virginia 5 North Carolina, South Carolina,, and Georgia. Emphasis during this investigation was placed on the area between the Savannah River at the border of South Carolina and Georgia and the Catawba River in North Carolina because it contains most of the placers formerly mined for monaziteo Four other areas along the strike of the monazite-bearing crystalline rocks were also studied, They center around Mt. Airy, N.C., Athens, Ga. Griffin, Ga. and LaGrange, Ga. In the Savannah River Catawba River district, studies indicate that even the highest grade stream deposits of more than 10 million cubic yards of alluvium contain less than 1 pound of monazite per cubic yard. The average grade of the better deposits is about 0 0 5 pound of monazite per cubic yard. Only trace amounts of niobium, tantalum, and tin have been detected in the placers. Tungsten is absent. Locally gold adds a few cents per cubic yard to the value of placer ground. The best deposits range in size from 1 to 5 million cubic yards and contain 1 to 2 pounds of monazite to the cubic yard. Hundreds of placers smaller than 1 million cubic yards exceed 2 pounds of monazite to the cubic yard and locally attain an average of 10 pounds Monazite deposits around Athens, Ga., are similar to the smaller deposits in the central part of the Savannah River - Catawba River district. A few small very low-grade monazite placers were found near Mt. Airy, N.C., Griffin, Ga., and LaGrange Ga., but they are of no economic value. The larger the flood plain and the farther it lies from the source of the stream, the lower is the monazite content of the sediment. Monazite cannot be profitably mined .from the crystalline rocks in the five areas. The alluvial placers are in stream sediments of post-Wisconsin age. Some pre-Wisconsin terrace gravel of small areal extent is exposed but it contains only a small amount of monazite Pre-Wisconsin to early post-Wisconsin colluvial sediments locally contain 2 pounds of monazite to the cubic yard. Mode of presentation of reports covering field work during the seasons of 1951 - 52 is given. No further reconnaissance will be undertaken, in the western monazite belt.

Publication Year 1953
Title Progress report of southeastern monazite exploration, 1952
DOI 10.3133/tei349
Authors W.C. Overstreet, P. K. Theobald, A. M. White, N. P. Cuppels, D. W. Caldwell, J. W. Whitlow
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Trace Elements Investigations
Series Number 349
Index ID tei349
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse