LITHOSTRATIGRAPHY AND SHEAR-WAVE VELOCITY IN THE CRYSTALLIZED TOPOPAH SPRING TUFF, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA Page: 1 of 15
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Lithostratigraphy and Shear-Wave Velocity in the Crystallized Topopah Spring Tuff,
Yucca Mountain, Nevada
David Buesch Kenneth H. Stokoe Michael Schuhen
U.S. Geological Survey Wonk Young Choi Sandia National Laboratories
1180 N. Town Center Dr., MS 423 Seonj Yeol. Jeon 1180 N. Town Center Dr., MS 423
Las Vegas, NV 89144 Jung Jae Lee Las Vegas, NV 89144
University of Texas at Austin
Department of Civil, Architectural, and
1 University Station, C1792
Austin, TX 78712-0280
Abstract - Evaluation of the seismic response of the proposed spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste repository
at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is in part based on the seismic properties of the host rock, the 12.8-million-year-old Topopah
Spring Tuff. Because of the processes that formed the tuff, the densely welded and crystallized part has three lithophysal and
three nonlithophysal zones, and each zone has characteristic variations in lithostratigraphic features and structures of the
rocks. Lithostratigraphic features include lithophysal cavities, rims on lithophysae and some fractures, spots (which are
similar to rims but without an associated cavity or aperture), amounts of porosity resulting from welding, crystallization, and
vapor-phase corrosion and mineralization, and fractures. Seismic properties, including shear-wave velocity (VS), have been
measured on 38 pieces of core, and there is a good "first order" correlation with the lithostratigraphic zones; for example,
samples from nonlithophysal zones have larger V. values compared to samples from lithophysal zones. Some samples have
V, values that are beyond the typical range for the lithostratigraphic zone; however, these samples typically have one or more
fractures, "large" lithophysal cavities, or "missing pieces" relative to the sample size. Shear-wave velocity data measured in
the tunnels have similar relations to lithophysal and nonlithophysal rocks; however, tunnel-based values are typically smaller
than those measured in core resulting from increased lithophysae and fracturing effects. Variations in seismic properties such
as V, data from small-scale samples (typical and "flawed" core) to larger scale traverses in the tunnels provide a basis for
merging our understanding of the distributions of lithostratigraphic features (and zones) with a method to scale seismic
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BUESCH, D.; STOKOE, K.H. & SCHUHEN, M. LITHOSTRATIGRAPHY AND SHEAR-WAVE VELOCITY IN THE CRYSTALLIZED TOPOPAH SPRING TUFF, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA, report, March 20, 2006; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892941/m1/1/: accessed February 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.