Impact of Quaternary Climate on Seepage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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Uranium-series ages, oxygen-isotopic compositions, and uranium contents were determined in outer growth layers of opal and calcite from 0.5- to 3-centimeter-thick mineral coatings hosted by lithophysal cavities in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site of a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste. Micrometer-scale growth layering in the minerals was imaged using a cathodoluminescence detector on a scanning electron microscope. Determinations of the chemistry, ages, and delta oxygen-18 values of the growth layers were conducted by electron microprobe analysis and secondary ion mass spectrometry techniques at spatial resolutions of 1 to about 20 micrometers ({micro}m) and 25 ... continued below

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Whelan, J.F.; Paces, J.B.; Neymark, L.A.; Schmitt, A.K. & Grove, M. March 17, 2006.

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Uranium-series ages, oxygen-isotopic compositions, and uranium contents were determined in outer growth layers of opal and calcite from 0.5- to 3-centimeter-thick mineral coatings hosted by lithophysal cavities in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site of a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste. Micrometer-scale growth layering in the minerals was imaged using a cathodoluminescence detector on a scanning electron microscope. Determinations of the chemistry, ages, and delta oxygen-18 values of the growth layers were conducted by electron microprobe analysis and secondary ion mass spectrometry techniques at spatial resolutions of 1 to about 20 micrometers ({micro}m) and 25 to 40 micrometers, respectively. Growth rates for the last 300 thousand years (k.y.) calculated from about 300 new high-resolution uranium-series ages range from approximately 0.5 to 1.5 {micro}m/k.y. for 1- to 3-centimeter-thick coatings, whereas coatings less than about I-centimeter-thick have growth rates less than 0.5 {micro}m/k.y. At the depth of the proposed repository, correlations of uranium concentration and delta oxygen-18 values with regional climate records indicate that unsaturated zone percolation and seepage water chemistries have responded to changes in climate during the last several hundred thousand years.

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  • Report No.: NA
  • Grant Number: NA
  • DOI: 10.2172/893805 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 893805
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc890910

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  • March 17, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 8:44 p.m.

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Whelan, J.F.; Paces, J.B.; Neymark, L.A.; Schmitt, A.K. & Grove, M. Impact of Quaternary Climate on Seepage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, report, March 17, 2006; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc890910/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.