Discovery of Kiggavik Uranium Deposit

  • We discovered the Kiggavik uranium deposit in the Thelon near Baker Lake in 1974 by flying a gamma-ray scintillation spectrometer set on broad band (total count).
  • Due to counting statistics and Compton scattering, the uranium channel wouldn't have detected the anomaly, and since we could only observe one channel we chose total count.
  • Eric Onasick (geophysics) and Ko Griep (geology) made the discovery in the evening of August 7. I was the party chief. The first thing I did, after admiring all the yellow staining in the frost boil, was ask Eric to fly over it again set on the uranium channel -- and we got no anomaly.
  • Our exploration focus was along the unconformity at the base of the Thelon, analogous to the Athabasca.
  • Total area for the two-month summer was 11 permits or 7500 square kilometers.
  • At the same time we collected 1300 water samples and 1200 sediment samples from lakes.
  • In a field lab we analysed waters for radon and sediments for radium. Dieter Stein and Basil Aptanik ran the field lab.
  • We sent water samples out for uranium and copper analyses, and sediments for uranium, copper, lead, zinc, cobalt, nickel and silver.
  • The attached map shows the 1974 results for radon and uranium in water and radium and uranium in sediment.
  • All four of these radon-radium-uranium indicators show a medium to strong anomaly associated with the Kiggavik deposit.
  • There is also a weak association of copper, lead, zinc, cobalt and nickel with the deposit.
  • Radon has the advantage that it available immediately in the field for follow up, radium after a few days.
  • In the years since 1974 the deposit has been drilled off and reserves are reported as 112,493,000 lbs.
  • The Northern Miner includes Kiggavik in its 2020 list of the Top-10 large, high-grade uranium projects in the world.

If the gamma radiation had been masked by a foot or two of overburden and/or missed by flight line spacing, the orebody could have been found anyway by follow up of the radon-radium-uranium anomaly.


  • We measure: radon - radium - thoron - radon daughters - alpha radiation.
  • The Lucas cell is recognized as the most sensitive and reliable method for these elements.
  • Our instruments are used around the world in exploration for uranium, oil & gas, groundwater and hydrothermal, and in environmental protection, health physics, earthquake prediction, and evaluation of hydrocarbon and NAPL contamination.
  • In the radon business since 1968, our latest major instrument update was 2015.
  • Modern, low-power, field-rugged electronics. Some earlier versions still working after 35 years.
  • Continuous real-time monitoring and data recording.
  • Winter and summer, from the Sahara Desert to the Canadian Shield, our instruments have faced up to severe field conditions.
  • Intrinsically safe functions.
  • Sensitive to geochemical trace levels necessary for radon in lake water and for radon-thoron isotope ratios.
  • Can work in a tent without electricity or be carried from point to point in the field.
  • 50 readings per day. Results available immediately.
  • Rechargeable battery pack good for a long day in the field and recharges in a few hours.
  • Can be operated by junior personnel if carefully supervised.
  • Same instruments used for radon and radium in soil, sediment, plant parts, rocks, water, soil gas, air, and snow, and for radon daughters in air.
  • EPA compliant.
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Robert H. Morse, Ph.D., P.Eng.
July 7, 2007
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