Structure of Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain, Southeastern Nevada, as Inferred from Gravity Data

by H. W. Oliver, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, United States,
K. F. Fox, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


Existing gravity data in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat have been examined to determine if these data support only the caldera model or if they support other geologic models such as for a high-angle graben or detachment fault. The west to east isostatic gravity profile reduced for a density of 2.0 g/cm3 shows a gravity low of about 20 mGal centered only 2 km from the eastern edge of Crater Flat relative to a gravity high over the eastern boundary of Yucca Mountain. In the western part of Crater Flat, isostatic anomalies rise about 50 mGal across the flat, reaching a maximum gradient of 9 mGal/km about 3 km east of the Bare Mountain range-front fault. Computer modeling of these data indicate that a model that consists of a detachment fault that dips to the west at 12° under Yucca Mountain and intersects a 27° east-dipping Bare Mountain fault fits the observed gravity data generally as well as the caldera model.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Light rail transit | Computer models | Domain boundary | Geology | Waste disposal | Mountains | Geological faults | Nevada | United States

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