Geohydrologic Data and Models of Rainier Mesa and Their Implications to Yucca Mountain

by J. S. Y. Wang, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
N. G. W. Cook, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
H. A. Wollenberg, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
C. L. Carnahan, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
I. Javandel, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
C. F. Tsang, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993

Abstract: The geohydrologic data collected at Rainier Mesa provide the only extensive observations in tunnels presently available on flow and transport in tuff units similar to those of a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This information can, therefore, be of great value in planning the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) testing in underground drifts at Yucca Mountain. In this paper, we compare the geohydrologic characteristics of tuff units of these two sites and summarize the hydrochemical data indicating the presence of nearly meteoric water in Rainier Mesa tunnels. A simple analytic model is used to evaluate the possibility of propagating transient pulses of water along fractures or faults through the Paintbrush nonwelded tuff unit to reach the tunnel beds below. The results suggest that fast flow could occur without significant mixing between meteoric fracture water and matrix pore water. The implications of these findings on planning for the ESF Calico Hills study at Yucca Mountain are discussed.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Data processing | Tunnels | Rainfall | Model analysis | Hydraulic fracturing | Hydrologic models | Pore water | Geology | Underground structures | Nevada | North America | United States

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