Studies of the Role of Fault Zones on Fluid Flow Using the Site-Scale Numerical Model of Yucca Mountain

by C. S. Wittwer, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Berkeley, United States,
G. Chen, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Berkeley, United States,
G. S. Bodvarsson, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Berkeley, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


The three-dimensional grid of the site-scale model developed for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was used to perform two-dimensional simulations with the TOUGH2 computer program. The grid geometry consists of seventeen non-uniform layers which represent the lithological variations within the four main welded and non-welded hydrogeological units. The fault zones are explicitely modeled as porous medium using various assumptions regarding their permeabilities and characteristic curves. Matrix flow is approximated using the van Genuchten model, and the equivalent continuum approximation is used to account for fracture flow in the welded units. Steady state simulations are performed with various uniform infiltration rates. The results are interpreted in terms of the effect of the fault characteristics on the moisture flow distribution, and on the location and formation of preferential pathways.

Subject Headings: Numerical analysis | Fluid flow | Numerical models | Three-dimensional models | Computer models | Two-dimensional models | Geological faults | Radioactive wastes | Nevada | United States

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