Factors Controlling Low Uranium and Thorium Concentrations in the Cayirhan Bituminous Shales (CBS) in the Beypazari (Ankara) Area, Turkey


ACTA GEOLOGICA SINICA-ENGLISH EDITION, vol.88, no.1, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


In this study uranium and thorium contents and depositional characteristics of Cayirhan bituminous shales (CBS), west of Ankara (central Anatolia), are investigated. Samples used were collected from boreholes opened by Park Holding Ltd. A total of 25 samples were taken from bituminous shale levels in boreholes drilled at 6 different locations in the study area. The Hirka formation which hosts bituminous shale deposits is a volcano sedimentary sequence and all lithofacies indicate that a lacustrine environment where the water level was continuously changed. In addition to hydrocarbon generation potential, bituminous shales also accumulate significant amount of radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium. The average uranium and thorium concentrations of CBS (1.83/2.62 ppm) are much lower than averages of UC, NASK and PAAS (uranium: 2.70/2.66/3.10 ppm; thorium: 8.50/12.30/14.60 ppm). Low uranium contents in comparison to those of similar lacustrine environments might be attributed to that waters of depositional environment of CBS contain low concentration of dissolved uranium and redox conditions were of oxic and dioxic character. Correlation data indicate that U and Th have a similar source and are associated predominantly with clays and phosphates and dominantly with organic material. Radioactive elements in the basin might be derived from Paleozoic granites and metamorphites (e.g. gneiss, schist) which comprise the basement and volcanism which was active in the region throughout the Miocene period. These elements are probably associated with uraniferous phosphate minerals (e.g. autunite, torbernite) which occur in granite, gneiss and schist. CBS with average TOC content of 10.96 % shows very good/perfect source rock potential. Positive correlations between Gamma-Ray values and U, Th and K concentrations imply that radioactivity might be originated from these three elements.