Mine Tales: Arizona’s petrified forest mined for uranium and chromite | Arizona and area news

Ancient soil layers known as paleosols appearing as horizontal colored bands can be seen in the distance from the badland topography in the Petrified National Forest.

Guillaume Ascarza

The area of ​​the Petrified Forest with eight mineral properties has produced the most uranium for the market.

The first surveys were undertaken by geologist Harry Clifford Granger with a Geiger counter in 1951, with positive results inside the southern boundary of the Petrified Forest National Monument. A small deposit of low-grade uranium among the multi-colored shales has been identified. Uranium minerals have been found in sandstones with a high concentration of carbonaceous plant material, including petrified logs.

Uranium mining has occurred around the Twin Buttes area. The Ruth Mine was the world’s largest producer of uranium, having been located by Preston Coston and Hugh Barton in 1952 and named after Barton’s wife, Ruth. Production began in 1953 with 642 tonnes of ore shipped from Ruth Concession No.4.

The following year, Moab Uranium Co. served as a contractor, shipping 364 tonnes of ore from Ruth Concession No. 1 for processing at the Anaconda Co. plant in Bluewater, New Mexico.

It was also the site of an ore theft involving former Flyers Mining Co. employees who stole 9 tonnes of ore from the Bay Shore pit on the Section 33 claim and overtook neighboring Kay claims. and Goof.

Polycrystalline potash, with an American penny for the scale.

Courtesy of USGS

The ore was shipped to the Atomic Energy Commission ore purchasing station on the Cutter siding east of Globe, an anomaly as most of the ore mined in the area in 1956 had was shipped to a uranium processing plant in Shiprock, New Mexico, operated by Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Inc.

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