Secondary uranium mineralization in southern Finland and its relationship to recent glacial events
Read, D., Black, S., Buckby, T., Hellmuth, K.-H., Marcos, N. and Siitari-Kauppi, M. (2008) Secondary uranium mineralization in southern Finland and its relationship to recent glacial events. Global and Planetary Change, 60 (3-4). pp. 235-249. ISSN 0921-8181
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.02.006
Uranium series dating has been carried out on secondary uranyl silicate minerals formed during sub-glacial and post-glacial weathering of Proterozoic uraninite ores in south west Finland. The samples were obtained from two sites adjacent to the Salpauselkä III ice marginal formation and cover a range of depths, from the surface to more than 60 m. Measured ages fall into three distinct groups, 70–100 ka, 28–36 ka and < 2500 yr. The youngest set is associated with surface exposures and the crystals display clear evidence of re-working. The most likely trigger for uranium release at depths below the surface weathering zone is intrusion of oxidising glacial melt water. The latter is often characterised by very high discharge rates along channels, which close once the overpressure generated at the ice margin is released. There is excellent correspondence between the two Finnish sites and published data for similar deposits over a large area of southern and central Sweden. None of the seventy samples analysed gave a U–Th age between 40 and 70 ka; a second hiatus is apparent at 20 ka, coinciding with the Last Glacial Maximum. Thus, the process responsible for uranyl silicate formation was halted for significant periods, owing to a change in geochemical conditions or the hydrogeological regime. These data support the presence of interstadial conditions during the Early and Middle Weichselian since in the absence of major climatic perturbations the uranium phases at depth are stable. When viewed in conjunction with proxy data from mammoth remains it would appear that the region was ice-free prior to the Last Glacial Maximum.