SYSTHESIS OF VOLCANISM STUDIES FOR THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE CHARACTERIZATION PROJECT

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This report synthesizes the results of volcanism studies conducted by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and collaborating institutions on behalf of the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project. Chapter 1 introduces the volcanism issue for the Yucca Mountain site and provides the reader with an overview of the organization, content, and significant conclusions of this report. The hazard of future basaltic volcanism is the primary topic of concern including both events that intersect a potential repository and events that occur near or within the waste isolation system of a repository. Future volcanic events cannot be predicted with certainty ... continued below

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FV PERRY, GA CROWE, GA VALENTINE AND LM BOWKER September 23, 1997.

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This report synthesizes the results of volcanism studies conducted by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and collaborating institutions on behalf of the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project. Chapter 1 introduces the volcanism issue for the Yucca Mountain site and provides the reader with an overview of the organization, content, and significant conclusions of this report. The hazard of future basaltic volcanism is the primary topic of concern including both events that intersect a potential repository and events that occur near or within the waste isolation system of a repository. Future volcanic events cannot be predicted with certainty but instead are estimated using formal methods of probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment (PVHA). Chapter 2 describes the volcanic history of the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) and emphasizes the Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic record, the interval of primary concern for volcanic risk assessment. The distribution, eruptive history, and geochronology of Plio-Quaternary basalt centers are described by individual center emphasizing the younger postcaldera basalt (<5 Ma). The Lathrop Wells volcanic center is described in detail because it is the youngest basalt center in the YMR. The age of the Lathrop Wells center is now confidently determined to be about 75 thousand years old. Chapter 3 describes the tectonic setting of the YMR and presents and assesses the significance of multiple alternative tectonic models. The distribution of Pliocene and Quaternary basaltic volcanic centers is evaluated with respect to tectonic models for detachment, caldera, regional and local rifting, and the Walker Lane structural zone. Geophysical data are described for the YMR and are used as an aid to understand the distribution of past basaltic volcanic centers and possible future magmatic processes. Chapter 4 discusses the petrologic and geochemical features of basaltic volcanism in the YMR, the southern Great Basin and the Basin and Range province. Geochemical and isotopic data are presented for post-Miocene basalts of the Yucca Mountain region. Alternative petrogenetic models are assessed for the formation of the Lathrop Wells volcanic center. Based on geochemical data, basaltic ash in fault trenches near Yucca Mountain is shown to have originated from the Lathrop Wells center. Chapter 5 synthesizes eruptive and subsurface effects of basaltic volcanism on a potential repository and summarizes current concepts of the segregation, ascent, and eruption of basalt magma. Chapter 6 synthesizes current knowledge of the probability of disruption of a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. In 1996, an Expert Elicitation panel was convened by DOE that independently conducted PVHA for the Yucca Mountain site. Chapter 6 does not attempt to revise this PVHA; instead, it further examines the sensitivity of variables in PVHA. The approaches and results of PVHA by the expert judgment panel are evaluated and incorporated throughout this chapter. The disruption ratio (E2) is completely re-evaluated using simulation modeling that describes volcanic events based on the geometry of basaltic feeder dikes. New estimates of probability bounds are developed. These comparisons show that it is physically implausible for the probability of magmatic disruption of the Yucca Mountain site to be greater than 10{sup -7} events per year. Bounding probability estimates are used to assess possible implications of not drilling aeromagnetic anomalies in the Arnargosa Valley and Crater Flat. The results of simulation modeling are used to assess the sensitivity of the disruption probability for the location of northeast boundaries of volcanic zones near the Yucca Mountain site. A new section on modeling of radiological releases associated with surface and subsurface magmatic activity has been added to chapter 6. The modeling results are consistent with past total system performance assessments that show future volcanic and magmatic events are not significant components of repository performance and volcanism is not a priority issue for performance assessment studies.

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  • Report No.: MOL.19980722.0044
  • Grant Number: DE-AC01-91RW00134
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 778909
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc722511

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  • September 23, 1997

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • Feb. 10, 2016, 6:39 p.m.

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FV PERRY, GA CROWE, GA VALENTINE AND LM BOWKER. SYSTHESIS OF VOLCANISM STUDIES FOR THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE CHARACTERIZATION PROJECT, report, September 23, 1997; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc722511/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.