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Estimation of groundwater velocities from Yucca Flat to the Amargosa Desert using geochemistry and environmental isotopes

Description: Geochemical and isotopic data from groundwater sampling locations can be used to estimate groundwater flow velocities for independent comparison to velocities calculated by other methods. The objective of this study was to calculate groundwater flow velocities using geochemistry and environmental isotopes from the southern end of Yucca Flat to the Amargosa Desert, considering mixing of different groundwater inputs from sources each and southeast of the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The approach used to accomplish the objective of this study consisted of five steps: (1) reviewing and selecting locations where carbon isotopic groundwater analyses, reliable ionic analysis, and well completion information are available; (2) calculating chemical speciation with the computer code WATEQ4F (Ball and Nordstrom, 1991) to determine the saturation state of mineral phases for each ground water location; (3) grouping wells into reasonable flowpaths and mixing scenarios from different groundwater sources; (4) using the computer code NETPATH (Plummer et al., 1991) to simulate mixing and the possible chemical reactions along the flowpath, and to calculate the changes in carbon-13/carbon-12 isotopic ratios ({delta}{sup 13}C) as a result of these reactions; and (5) using carbon-14 ({sup 14}C) data to calculate velocity.
Date: June 1, 1997
Creator: Hershey, R.L. & Acheampong, S.Y.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department