The Occurrence of Erionite at Yucca Mountain

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The naturally-occurring zeolite mineral erionite has a fibrous morphology and is a known human carcinogen (inhalation hazard). Erionite has been found typically in very small quantities and restricted occurrences in the course of mineralogic characterization of Yucca Mountain as a host for a high-level nuclear waste repository. The first identification of erionite was made in 1984 on the basis of morphology and chemical composition and later confirmed by X-ray diffraction analysis. It was found in the lower vitrophyre (Tptpv3) of the Topopah Spring Tuff in a borehole sidewall sample. Most erionite occurrences identified at Yucca Mountain are in the Topopah ... continued below

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1 pages

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Creator: Unknown. July 1, 2004.

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Description

The naturally-occurring zeolite mineral erionite has a fibrous morphology and is a known human carcinogen (inhalation hazard). Erionite has been found typically in very small quantities and restricted occurrences in the course of mineralogic characterization of Yucca Mountain as a host for a high-level nuclear waste repository. The first identification of erionite was made in 1984 on the basis of morphology and chemical composition and later confirmed by X-ray diffraction analysis. It was found in the lower vitrophyre (Tptpv3) of the Topopah Spring Tuff in a borehole sidewall sample. Most erionite occurrences identified at Yucca Mountain are in the Topopah Spring Tuff, within an irregular zone of transition between the lower boundary of devitrified tuff and underlying glassy tuff. This zone is fractured and contains intermingled devitrified and vitric tuff. In 1997, a second host of erionite mineralization was identified in the Exploratory Studies Facility within and adjacent to a high-angle fracture/breccia zone transgressing the boundary between the lowermost devitrified tuff (Tpcplnc) and underlying moderately welded vitric tuff (Tpcpv2) of the Tiva Canyon Tuff. The devitrified-vitric transition zones where erionite is found tend to have complex secondary-mineral assemblages, some of very localized occurrence. Secondary minerals in addition to erionite may include smectite, heulandite-clinoptilolite, chabazite, opal-A, opal-CT, cristobalite, quartz, kenyaite, and moganite. Incipient devitrification within the Topopah Spring Tuff transition zone includes patches that are highly enriched in potassium feldspar relative to the precursor volcanic glass. Geochemical conditions during glass alteration may have led to local evolution of potassium-rich fluids. Thermodynamic modeling of zeolite stability shows that erionite and chabazite stability fields occur only at aqueous K concentrations much higher than in present Yucca Mountain waters. The association of erionite with opal-A, opal-CT, and moganite suggests that erionite formed at a high silica activity.

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1 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00837687

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jul 2004

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  • Report No.: NONE
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  • DOI: 10.2172/837687 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 837687
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc779160

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  • July 1, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Feb. 10, 2016, 6:23 p.m.

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The Occurrence of Erionite at Yucca Mountain, report, July 1, 2004; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc779160/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.