Isotopic Discontinuities in Ground Water Beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada

by J. S. Stuckless, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, United States,
J. F. Whelan, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, United States,
W. C. Steinkampf, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991

Abstract: Analytical data for stable isotopes in ground water from beneath Yucca Mountain, when examined in map view, show areal patterns of heterogeneity that can be interpreted in terms of mixing of at least three end members. One end member must be isotopically heavy in terms of hydrogen and oxygen and have a young apparent 14C age such as water found at the north end of Yucca Mountain beneath Fortymile Wash. A second end member must contain isotopically heavy carbon and have an old apparent 14C age such as water from the Paleozoic aquifer. The third end member cannot be tightly defined. It must be isotopically lighter than the first with respect of hydrogen and oxygen and be intermediate to the first and second end members with respect to both apparent 14C age and δ 13C. The variable isotopic compositions of hydrogen and oxygen indicate that two of the end members are waters, but the variable carbon isotopic composition could represent either a third water end member or reaction of water with a carbon-bearing solids such as calcite.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Groundwater | Water resources | Discontinuities | Aquifers | Hydrogen | Oxygen | Carbon fibers | Nevada | North America | United States

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