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A Novel Approach in Hydrogeochemical Exploration for Uranium Mineralization: an Example from West Central Sinai, Egypt

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Groundwater in contact with ore deposits may acquire a chemical composition that could be used as a guide for exploration. Eight well‐water samples are collected from a known uranium‐mineralized area near Abu Zenima, west central Sinai to examine the applicability of using the hydrogeochemical technique in the search for uranium mineralization in similar arid areas. The analytical chemical data of the ground water is compared with ground radiometric measurements. The obtained results indicate that groundwater affected by uranium mineralization has a specific relativity of major anions expressed essentially as SO4>Cl>HCO3 and to a lesser extent as C1>SO4>HCO3, associated as a rule with low magnesium content. This association constitutes a signature of uranium mineralization on the composition of groundwater in west central Sinai and could be used as an important exploration guide in the search for uranium deposits in similar areas. Anomalies in Ni, Fe, Zn and Cr and other pathfinder elements in groundwater can furnish geochemical guides to uranium ores. The immobile trace element anomalies, including Zn, Ni and Fe are strongly distributed near the orebody; whereas the relatively mobile trace elements, including Co, U, V and Cr, constitute the dispersion haloes away from the orebody. A new hydrogeochemical discrimination diagram is constructed to be used as a quick and cost effective exploration tool in the search for uranium occurrences in environmentally similar arid areas. Based on the obtained results, a new site for uranium occurrence, west of W. Baba, is delineated and recommended for future detailed geological and geochemical surveying.
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Keywords: Hydrogeochemical exploration; Sinai; Uranium ores; geospatial mapping; graphical exploration tool; remote sensing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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