Strontium Isotopic Evidence for a Higher Water Table at Yucca Mountain

by Brian D. Marshall, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, United States,
Zell E. Peterman, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, United States,
John S. Stuckless, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993

Abstract: At Yucca Mountain, calcite occurs as open-space fillings and coatings on fractures within much of the host volcanic rocks in both the saturated and unsaturated zones. Strontium isotope analyses of these calcites divide the samples into two groups corresponding to their location in either the saturated or unsaturated zones. The group of samples from the unsaturated zone corresponds very well with pedogenic carbonate samples, indicating that the strontium came from the surface during infiltration events. However, four samples from the unsaturated zone show strontium isotopic ratios similar to present-day ground water. Since these samples are closest to the water table, they are interpreted as the result of a higher water-table stand (approx.85 m higher than present-day) in the past.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Water table | Isotopes | Geology | Water sampling | Coating | Cracking | Nevada | North America | United States

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