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U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 02-020

Aeromagnetic Expression of Buried Basaltic Volcanoes Near Yucca Mountain, Nevada


D.W. O’Leary, E.A. Mankinen, R.J. Blakely, V.E. Langenheim, and D.A. Ponce



A high-resolution aeromagnetic survey has defined a number of small dipolar anomalies indicating the presence of magnetic bodies buried beneath the surface of Crater Flat and the Amargosa Desert. Results of potential-field modeling indicate that isolated, small-volume, highly magnetic bodies embedded within the alluvial deposits of both areas produce the anomalies. Their physical characteristics and the fact that they tend to be aligned along major structural trends provide strong support for the hypothesis that the anomalies reflect buried basaltic volcanic centers. Other, similar anomalies are identified as possible targets for further investigation. High-resolution gravity and ground-magnetic surveys, perhaps along with drilling sources of selected anomalies and radiometric age determinations, can provide valuable constraints in estimating potential volcanic hazard to the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

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For questions about the content of this report, contact Ed Mankinen

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: January 30, 2002
Last modified: June 9, 2008 (mfd)