Reports and data by faculty and students of the University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory on results of research on a wide variety of topics.

Recent Submissions

  • Research into the safety and efficiency of underground placer mining and frozen ground

    Huang, S.L. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1983-09)
    Some of the underground excavation problems encountered in arctic and subarctic environments associated with thermal disturbance are excessive settlement of ground surface and pronounced displacement around openings. This study investigated the possible links between the significant settlement. Ground temperature was found to be the most influential. An empirical equation was developed for the USBM gravel room to predict the effect of temperature on creep of frozen gravel. Separation of the roof gravel and silt was observed as steady heating process increased the gravel temperature by one degree. The temperature dependent material constants were estimated from the laboratory testings. The factors affecting the creep characteristics were temperature and applied stress level. The primary creep behavior of frozen gravel loaded under 18% of unconfined compressive strength at 25° and 29° could be predicted empirically.
  • Preliminary studies of the effectiveness of water jet cutting on frozen ground

    Skudrzyk, F.J. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1983-08)
    Cutting of artificially frozen gravel and ice was performed under laboratory conditions at pressures ranging from 3000 to 15000 psi (20.7 to 103.5 MPa) and flow rates below 4 gpm (0.24 L/s). During the second stage of this preliminary study additional cutting and "drilling" were conducted in the permafrost tunnel at Fox, at pressures ranging from 2000 to 4400 psi (13.8 to 30.4 MPa) and flow rate up to 40 gpm (2.4 L/s). The erodability of the material (energy required to remove a unit volume of material) was calculated and used as a basis for finding the optimum conditions for frozen gravel disintegration. Recommendations for further studies are also included.
  • Preliminary studies of frozen gravel properties related to underground mining

    Skudrzyk, F.J., Barker, C.R., and Mazurkiewicz, M. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1982-04)
    This report describes research conducted by Drs. Frank J. Skudrzyk, Clark R. Barker and Marian Mazurkiewicz over a period of time from February 15 to April 15, 1982 for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The scope of the project, established through discussions with Dr. Chris Lambert, representing the UA, was to conduct pilot studies of frozen gravel properties related to underground mining in permafrost: high pressure water jet cutting characteristics and uniaxial compressive test (uniaxial compressive strength and Young's modulus measurement). It has been agreed that the tests would be conducted on an artificial material simulating the frozen gravel.
  • Occurrence and distribution of barite in the permo-triassic siksikpuk formation along the Brooks Range haul road

    Payne, M.W. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
    Barite commonly occurs in Permian to Triassic age rocks along the north flank of the Brooks Range. The Siksikpuk Formation (Wolfcampian to lowest Guadalupian age) is noted for its barite and is well exposed in the vicinity of Galbraith Lake along the pipeline haul road (Figure 1). The proximity of these barite deposits to an existing road made them a logical selection for investigation. The study was designed to provide detailed stratigraphic information on barite quantity and quality, associated clay mineralogy, and relationship of barite to environments of deposition.
  • Uranium exploration methodology in cold climates

    Sims, J.M. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
    The uranium prospecting boom of the past decade had, as a major consequence, the rapid development and proliferation of exploration methods for source materials. Numerous established methods were developed and refined whilst new techniques were introduced proving, in some instances, to be highly successful. To the explorationist the proliferation of instrumental hardware and detection systems was something of a headache with the result that in uranium exploration, more so than in other types of prospecting, the choice of exploration method at the appropriate stage of prospecting was frequently ill founded. The situation also spawned ‘black box’ purveyors who made extravagant claims for their equipment. Money was wasted through over kill applications of exploration method accompanied in many instances by deficiencies in the interpretation of results. This project was originally conceived as a means of evaluating, reviewing and filtering from a burgeoning array of systems the most appropriate exploration techniques applicable to cold climate environments. This goal has been trimmed somewhat since it had been hoped to incorporate site investigation data assembled in the field by the writer as appropriate case history material. This was not possible and as a consequence this report is a 'state of the art review' of the applicability of currently available techniques in Arctic and Subarctic environments. Reference is made to published case history data, where appropriate, supportive of the techniques or methods reviewed.
  • Application of portable delayed neutron activation analysis equipment in the evaluation of gold deposits

    Sims, J.M. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
    The attributes of a gold analysis system which could act as a panacea for the needs of the explorationist and the miner alike would include: i) The capability of being used as a qualitative as well as a quantitative tool yielding accurate results in respect of large samples. ii) The capability of generating results on site either in the field or within a prospect or mine. iii) An identifiable cost effectiveness in relation to other methods. iv) The capability of being housed in an equipment package which combines ruggedness, portability and reliability with operational options which permit measurements to be made on outcrops, mine faces, borehole cores as well as direct in-situ down-the hole determinations. The portable x-ray fluorescence gold analyser is on the threshold of meeting all the criteria cited above. Since the system is non-destructive in so far as the sample is concerned check assays employing conventional techniques can be run on a small percentage of the sample population. This report by its very nature is a state of the art review which sets out to describe the current instrument package, the principles by which it functions, its performance compared with detailed chip channel sampling and then suggests how the system may evolve in terms of its application to the investigation of hard-rock and placer deposits.
  • Application of palynological techniques for correlation of coal seams in the Lower Lignite Creek area, Nenana Coal Field

    McFarlane, R., Sanders, R., and Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
    This study concerns spores and pollen in the coals of the lower Lignite Creek area in the Nenana Coal Field, which is operated by Usibelli Mining Company. The seams studied are part of the Suntrana Formation which contains a large portion of the coal reserves of Nenana coal. These coals are mid-Miocene in age and are separated from each other by cyclic sandstone, clay and silt deposits, which reflect alternating periods of coal forming swamps and depositing streams. A preliminary study of the mega and micro botanical fossils of this area was made in 1969 by Wolfe and Leopold (Wahrhaftig et al, 1969). Palynological investigation was done on 26 samples of the Suntrana Formation and evidence from this and fossil leaves indicate that the formation should be placed in the Seldovian stage.
  • Tunnel lining studies II

    Johansen, N.I. and Chalich, P. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
    In the CRREL tunnel (Fig. B1, B2), sublimation is extremely apparent, but because of the tunnels limited usage it poses no significant problems. However, in an operating mine with forced air ventilation and continuously operating machinery, the problems associated with sublimation may no longer be insignificant. The dust released by the evaporating ice poses not only the obvious respiratory threat, but an additional safety threat, as fine silt suspended in the air reduces visibility, and removal or suppression of the dust will be of importance.
  • Natural revegetation of placer mined lands of interior Alaska II

    McKendrick, J.D., Neiland, B.J., and Holmes, K. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980)
    To the uninitiated eye an aerial photo of Fairbanks’ surrounding area includes patches of what might appear to be the channels left by the workings of a bark beetle grub. These series of parallel mounds with sequences of smaller undulations on their surfaces are actually composed of coarse gravel and are the product of some forty years of gold dredging. Started in 1928, dredging was concentrated in several of the tributary valleys of the Tanana River and Goldstream Creek. Some of these tailings piles support lush growth while others are relatively bare. At present, no ecologically oriented studies, either qualitative or quantitative, have been published concerning the gold dredge tailings. It was therefore the intent of this study to obtain a broad picture of the present stage of revegetation, in order that further ecological work and, hopefully, assisted rehabilitation may be facilitated.
  • Placer mining in Alaska II

    Wolff, E.N., Robinson, M.S., Cook, D.J., and Thomas, B. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980)
    During July, August and September, 1979, a team from the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory visited a number of placer mining districts that could be reached by automobile, hence at a reasonable cost for transportation. These districts yielded varying amounts of information that will be of value to the industry. The district visited were: 1. Fairbanks, 2. Circle (Birch Creak), 3. Livengood (Tolovana), 4. Manley Hot Springs, 5. Fortymile, 6. Klondike, 7. Kantishna, 8. Yentna.
  • Mineral investigations of D-2 lands in the Philip Smith Mountains and Chandler Lake quadrangles

    Metz, P.A. and Robinson, M.S. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1979)
    Eight hundred and sixty-five stream sediment samples were collected over an area of approximately 2,120 square kilometers (828 square miles) in the Chandler Lake and Philip Smith Mountains quadrangles (Fig. 1). The samples were analyzed by atomic absorption methods for Cu, Pb, Zn, Ag and Mo. Statistical reduction of the data resulted in the definition of 86 anomalous samples. The majority of the anomalous samples were from streams draining either the Hunt Fork Shale, Kanayut Conglomerate, or the Lisburne Group. The anomalous samples are grouped in ten separate areas; eight of these areas warrant additional field examination. The number of geochemical anomalies within the area indicates that region has good potential for copper, lead and zinc sulfide mineral deposits.
  • Baseline geochemical studies for resource evaluation of D-2 Lands - geophysical and geochemical investigations at the Red Dog and Drenchwater Creek mineral occurrences

    Metz, P.A., Robinson, M.S., and Lueck, L. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1979)
    Major zinc, lead and barite mineralization has been discovered at Red Dog and Drenchwater Creeks in the DeLong Mountains of north-western Alaska. The host rocks for the mineral occurrences are carbonates, cherts, shales, and dacitic volcanic rocks of the Mississippian Lisburne Group. The host rocks are deformed in a narrow belt of imbricate thrust sheets that extend from the Canadian border to the Chukchi Sea. The rocks strike generally east-west and dip to the south. The sulfide minerals occur as stratiform mineralization parallel to bedding planes, as breccia fillings and vein replacements, and as disseminations in the various host rocks. The primary ore minerals are sphalerite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, and galena. Barite occurs as massive beds up to 90 meters (300 feet) thick at Red Dog Creek and as nodules, veinlets, and disseminations at Drenchwater Creek. Close spaced soil sampling, mercury vapor sampling, and magnetic and radiometric surveys were conducted over the areas of exposed sulfide mineralization to test the response of these techniques to these types of deposits in northern Alaska. There is potential for additional deposits of this type in the Lisburne Group of the entire northern Brooks Range. These techniques provide a rapid low cost method for the discovery and preliminary evaluation of these types of mineral occurrences in northern Alaska.
  • Evaluation of the mineral resources of the pipeline corridor, phases i and ii

    Robinson, M.S. and Metz, P.A. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1979)
    In accordance with U. S. Bureau of Mines (U.S.B.M.) Grant No. G0166180 entitled, “Evaluation of the Mineral Resources of the Pipeline Corridor”, the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory (M.I.R.L.), of the University of Alaska, completed an examination of the mineral resource potential of the federal utility corridor established for the trans-Alaska pipeline. The contract was completed under the direction of the Principal Investigator, Paul A. Metz and the Associate Investigator, Mark S. Robinson.
  • Some implications for Alaska of petroleum development on the Norwegian Continental Shelf

    Lynch, D.F. and Johansen, N.I. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1978-06)
    In January 1978, Senator Mike Gravel travelled in Norway to obtain information on Norwegian reactions to petroleum development on the continental shelf of the North and Norwegian Seas. This report presents some implications of Norwegian experiences which may be relevant to Alaska as developed by two University of Alaska professors who accompanied Senator Gravel and his assistant C. Deming Cowles.