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Open-File Report 2006–1390

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office under Interagency Agreement DE-AI52-01NV13944

Geologic Characterization of Young Alluvial Basin-Fill Deposits from Drill Hole Data in Yucca Flat, Nye County, Nevada

By Donald S. Sweetkind and Ronald M. Drake II

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Abstract

Yucca Flat is a topographic and structural basin in the northeastern part of the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in Nye County, Nevada, that has been the site of numerous underground nuclear tests; many of these tests occurred within the young alluvial basin-fill deposits. The migration of radionuclides to the Paleozoic carbonate aquifer involves passage through this thick, heterogeneous section of Tertiary and Quaternary rock. An understanding of the lateral and vertical changes in the material properties of young alluvial basin-fill deposits will aid in the further development of the hydrogeologic framework and the delineation of hydrostratigraphic units and hydraulic properties required for simulating ground-water flow in the Yucca Flat area. This report by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, presents data and interpretation regarding the three-dimensional variability of the shallow alluvial aquifers in areas of testing at Yucca Flat, data that are potentially useful in the understanding of the subsurface flow system. This report includes a summary and interpretation of alluvial basin-fill stratigraphy in the Yucca Flat area based on drill hole data from 285 selected drill holes. Spatial variations in lithology and grain size of the Neogene basin-fill sediments can be established when data from numerous drill holes are considered together. Lithologic variations are related to different depositional environments within the basin including alluvial fan, channel, basin axis, and playa deposits.


Version 1.0

Posted January 2007


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