US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 11 (1979) 227-248


U.S. government work.


During the summer of 1976 waters from tributaries, rivers, springs and wells were sampled in the Walker River Basin. Snow and sediments from selected sites were also sampled. All samples were analyzed for uranium and other elements. The resulting data provide an understanding of the transport of uranium within a closed hydrologic basin as well as providing a basis for the design of geochemical reconnaissance studies for the Basin and Range Province of the Western United States. Spring and tributary data are useful in locating areas containing anomalous concentrations of uranium. However, agricultural practices obscure the presence of known uranium deposits and render impossible the detection of other known deposits. Uranium is extremely mobile in stream waters and does not appear to sorb or precipitate. Uranium has a long residence time (2500 years) in the open waters of Walker Lake; however, once it crosses the sediment-water interface, it is reduced to the U(IV) state and is lost from solution. Over the past two million years the amount of uranium transported to the terminal point of the Walker River system may have been on the order of 4 x 108 kg. This suggests that closed basin termini are sites for significant uranium accumulations and are, therefore, potential sites of uranium ore deposits.