3D seismic survey at the Millennium uranium deposit, Saskatchewan, Canada: Mapping depth to basement and imaging post-Athabasca structure near the orebody
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Three-dimensional seismic reflection measurements have been used to assist mine planning at the Millennium uranium deposit, Canada. The deposit is located within the crystalline basement, separated from the overlying Athabasca Basin sediments by an unconformity potentially associated with significant fluid flow. The primary objective of the ~6.5 km 2 survey was to image the unconformity and possible post-Athabasca deformation structures in and around the deposit. Clear unconformity reflections are observed within most of the survey area, although there are amplitude variations due to complex geology, including intense hydrothermal clay alteration around the deposit. Finite-difference modeling indicates that the wide-angle character of the unconformity reflections is due to a gradual velocity increase at the unconformity. The reflections are obscured by large time delays, due to Quaternary sediments covering the area, making refraction static corrections crucial. The seismic interpretation shows large variations in the unconformity depth (from approximately 430 to 650 m), indicating a pronounced basement depression that coincides with a gravity low.Reflections from the unconformity are vague within the depression, especially in the vicinity of the deposit. Although the orebody is not directly visible in the seismic image, there is a lack of reflectivity coincident with the alteration surrounding the mineralization. We also observed reflections which likely originate at the contact between the altered and fresh basement rock located beneath the deposit. The seismic data further indicate post-Athabasca faults in the vicinity of the orebody. Based on the initial seismic interpretation, the depth of the crown pillar was adjusted and the mine infrastructure moved away from areas interpreted to be affected by the intense hydrothermal alteration surrounding the deposit. The capability to image the unconformity, post-Athabasca structure, and hydrothermal alteration also highlights the potential use of seismic surveys in uranium exploration.
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