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Uranium in spring water and bryophytes at basin creek in central idaho

January 1, 1982

Arkosic sandstones and conglomerates of Tertiary age beneath the Challis Volcanics of Eocene age at Basin Creek, 10 km northeast of Stanley, Idaho, contain uranium-bearing vitrainized carbon fragments. The economic potential of these sandstones and conglomerates is currently being assessed. Springs abound at the contacts of rock units, and water from these springs supports abundant growths of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). Water from 22 springs and associated bryophytes were sampled; two springs were found to contain apparently anomalous concentrations (normalized) of uranium - as much as 6.5 ??g/L (ppb) in water and 1800 ??g/g (ppm) in ash of mosses. Moss samples from both springs also contained anomalous concentrations of arsenic, and one contained highly anomalous amounts of beryllium. Water from a third spring contained slightly anomalous amounts of uranium, and two species of mosses at the spring contained anomalous uranium (400 and 700 ??g/g) and high levels of both cadmium and lead. Water from a fourth spring was normal for uranium (0.18 ??g/L), but the moss from the water contained a moderate uranium level and highly anomalous concentrations of lead, germanium, and thallium. These results suggest that, in the Basin Creek area, moss sampling at springs may give a more reliable indication of uranium occurrence than would water sampling. The reason for this may be the ability of mosses to concentrate uranium and its associated pathfinder elements and to integrate uranium fluctuations that occur in the spring water over any period of time. ?? 1982.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1982
Title Uranium in spring water and bryophytes at basin creek in central idaho
Authors H.T. Shacklette, J. A. Erdman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geochemical Exploration
Index ID 70011673
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse