Analysis of Fracture in Cores from the Tuff Confining Unit beneath Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site

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The role fractures play in the movement of groundwater through zeolitic tuffs that form the tuff confining unit (TCU) beneath Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site, is poorly known. This is an important uncertainty, because beneath most of Yucca Flat the TCU lies between the sources of radionuclide contaminants produced by historic underground nuclear testing and the regional carbonate aquifer. To gain a better understanding of the role fractures play in the movement of groundwater and radionuclides through the TCU beneath Yucca Flat, a fracture analysis focusing on hydraulic properties was performed on conventional cores from four vertical exploratory holes in ... continued below

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Prothro, Lance March 1, 2008.

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Description

The role fractures play in the movement of groundwater through zeolitic tuffs that form the tuff confining unit (TCU) beneath Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site, is poorly known. This is an important uncertainty, because beneath most of Yucca Flat the TCU lies between the sources of radionuclide contaminants produced by historic underground nuclear testing and the regional carbonate aquifer. To gain a better understanding of the role fractures play in the movement of groundwater and radionuclides through the TCU beneath Yucca Flat, a fracture analysis focusing on hydraulic properties was performed on conventional cores from four vertical exploratory holes in Area 7 of Yucca Flat that fully penetrate the TCU. The results of this study indicate that the TCU is poorly fractured. Fracture density for all fractures is 0.27 fractures per vertical meter of core. For open fractures, or those observed to have some aperture, the density is only 0.06 fractures per vertical meter of core. Open fractures are characterized by apertures ranging from 0.1 to 10 millimeter, and averaging 1.1 millimeter. Aperture typically occurs as small isolated openings along the fracture, accounting for only 10 percent of the fracture volume, the rest being completely healed by secondary minerals. Zeolite is the most common secondary mineral occurring in 48 percent of the fractures observed.

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  • Report No.: DOE/NV/25946--351
  • Grant Number: DE-AC52-06NA25946
  • DOI: 10.2172/928855 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 928855
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc897221

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 7:46 p.m.

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Prothro, Lance. Analysis of Fracture in Cores from the Tuff Confining Unit beneath Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site, report, March 1, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897221/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.