Quantitative Model of the Formation Mechanism of the Rollfront Uranium Deposits
The rollfront type deposits are crescent shaped accumulation of mineralization including uranium, selenium, molybdenum in reduced permeable sandstones. It generally forms within a geochemical barrier between mostly reduced and predominantly oxidized environments. Redox reactions between oxidant and reductant creates favorable conditions for uranium precipitation, while constant flow of oxidant continuously dissolves uranium minerals thereby creating a reactive transport. Several previous works had either focused on the characteristics of the rollfront type deposits, or on the description of chemical and geological processes involved in their genesis. Based on these previous works, authors aimed to mimic laboratory experiments numerically by reactive flow and numerical simulation. Data from one particular experiment was used to determine reaction rates between reactants to produce a model of reactive transport and chemical processes involved in the formation of rollfront type deposits. The resulting model was used to identify the causes of crescent like formations and to determine main mechanisms influencing rollfront evolution. A better understanding and simulation of the mechanism involved in the formation of rollfront type deposits and their properties would contribute to decreased exploration and production costs of commodities trapped within such accumulations. The results of this work can be used to model other deposits formed through infiltration and subsequent precipitation of various minerals at the redox interface.
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