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Open-File Report 2005–1242
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Magnetotelluric Data, Across Quartzite Ridge, Nevada Test Site, Nevada

By Jackie M. Williams, Brian D. Rodriguez, and Theodore H. Asch

thumbnail of Figure 1 in report

Nuclear weapons are integral to the defense of the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy, as the steward of these devices, must continue to gauge the efficacy of the individual weapons. This could be accomplished by occasional testing at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in Nevada, northwest of Las Vegas. Yucca Flat Basin is one of the testing areas at the NTS. One issue of concern is the nature of the somewhat poorly constrained pre-Tertiary geology and its effects on ground-water flow in the area subsequent to a nuclear test. Ground-water modelers would like to know more about the hydrostratigraphy and geologic structure to support a hydrostratigraphic framework model that is under development for the Yucca Flat Corrective Action Unit (CAU).

During 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected and processed Magnetotelluric (MT) and Audio-magnetotelluric (AMT) data at the Nevada Test Site in and near Yucca Flat to help characterize this pre-Tertiary geology. That work will help to define the character, thickness, and lateral extent of pre-Tertiary confining units. In particular, a major goal has been to define the upper clastic confining unit (UCCU) in the Yucca Flat area. Interpretation will include a three-dimensional (3-D) character analysis and two-dimensional (2-D) resistivity model. The purpose of this report is to release the MT soundings across Quartzite Ridge, Profiles 5, 6a, and 6b, as shown in Figure 1. No interpretation of the data is included here.

Version 1.0

Posted November 2005

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