Characterization of Mineral and Geothermal Resources in the Eagle Flat Region, West Texas

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The location and distribution of mineral and geothermal resources of the Eagle Flat study area have been described as part of the geologic characterization of the proposed site for the Texas low-level radioactive waste repository. Mineral localities were evaluated within the 400 mi2 (1,024 km2) Eagle Flat study area (Allamoore, Grayton Lake, Devil Ridge, Sierra Blanca, Bean Hill, and Dome Peak 7.5-minute topographic quadrangles) surrounding the proposed site. In order to more fully evaluate the regional trends and mineralogic associations, mineral localities were also characterized within a larger 900 mi2 (2,304 km2) reconnaissance area that includes 16 additional 7.5-minute quadrangles immediately surrounding the study area.

The distribution and character of known mineral resources are important to the evaluation of the potential for economic mineral deposits on the siting area of the Texas low-level radioactive waste repository on the north Paskin Ranch. Excluding sand and gravel, which are ubiquitous in the basin, talc and possibly beryllium are the only known economic mineral deposits in the area. At the proposed site, basin-fill sediments in excess of 150 ft (45 m) thick probably preclude open-pit mining of talc or beryllium, and no favorable host rocks for talc are known to be present beneath the site. Beryllium is also highly unlikely because there are no drilling or geophysical data that indicate the occurrence of igneous intrusions beneath the basin-fill sediments of north Paskin Ranch. In addition, the site is located in a basin, not a highland, as is typical of intrusion-associated, Tertiary hydrothermal systems that occur elsewhere in the region.


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