Geologic character of tuffs in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

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At Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository on the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, evaluation of the geologic setting and rock physical properties, along with previous regional hydrologic studies, has provided background that can be used for construction of a preliminary conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone. The 500-m-thick unsaturated portion of Yucca Mountain consists of alternating layers of two contrasting types of tuff. One type consists of highly fractured, densely welded, relatively nonporous but highly transmissive ash-flow tuffs. The other type consists of relatively unfractured, nonwelded, highly porous but relatively nontransmissive, argillic ... continued below

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47 p.

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Scott, R. B.; Spengler, R. W.; Diehl, S.; Lappin, A. R. & Chornack, M. P. December 1982.

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At Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository on the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, evaluation of the geologic setting and rock physical properties, along with previous regional hydrologic studies, has provided background that can be used for construction of a preliminary conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone. The 500-m-thick unsaturated portion of Yucca Mountain consists of alternating layers of two contrasting types of tuff. One type consists of highly fractured, densely welded, relatively nonporous but highly transmissive ash-flow tuffs. The other type consists of relatively unfractured, nonwelded, highly porous but relatively nontransmissive, argillic and zeolitic bedded tuffs and ash-flow tuffs. The contrast between these two sets of distinctive physical properties results in a stratified sequence best described as "physical-property stratigraphy" as opposed to traditional petrologic stratigraphy of volcanic rocks. The vast majority of recharge through the unsaturated zone is assumed to be vertical; the dominant migration may occur in fractures of densely welded tuffs and in the matrix of nonwelded tuff, but the mode of fluid flow in these unsaturated systems is undetermined. Limited lateral flow of recharge may occur at horizons where local perched water tables may exist above relatively nontransmissive zeolitized nonwelded tuffs. The pervasive north-northwest-striking fractures may control the direction of lateral flow of recharge, if any, in the unsaturated zone, and certainly that direction coincides closely with the observed southeasterly flow direction in the saturated zone under Yucca Mountain. Empirical evaluation of this conceptual hydrologic model has begun. 41 refs., 18 figs., 2 tabs.

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47 p.

Notes

NTIS, PC A03/MF A01; OSTI as DE87008461

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  • American Geophysical Union spring meeting, Philadelphia, PA (United States), 31 May - 4 Jun 1982

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  • Other: DE87008461
  • Report No.: CONF-8205157--2
  • Grant Number: AI08-78ET44802
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 60173
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc690650

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  • December 1982

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • April 13, 2016, 2:02 p.m.

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Scott, R. B.; Spengler, R. W.; Diehl, S.; Lappin, A. R. & Chornack, M. P. Geologic character of tuffs in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada, article, December 1982; Denver, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc690650/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.