Open-File Report 2006-1312

Open-File Report 2006-1312

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Rainier Mesa, in the north-central part of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), is in the Death Valley Regional Ground-Water Flow System (DVRFS), a major flow system in the Great Basin Regional aquifer system (Harrill and Prudic, 1998; fig. 1). Ground water in this flow system is recharged locally by precipitation that falls on high-altitude areas, such as Rainier Mesa. About 60 underground nuclear devices were detonated in tunnels within unsaturated volcanic rock beneath Rainier Mesa (U.S. Department of Energy, 2000). Radionuclides generated as a consequence of nuclear testing could be carried downward by water infiltrating from the ground surface to the water table. However, few data are available from which to characterize infiltration at Rainier Mesa. A better understanding of the distribution and rate of infiltration is necessary to evaluate the potential for migration of radionuclides.

Purpose and Scope

This report documents micrometeorological and soil data collected at two instrumented sites on Rainier Mesa, NTS. Twenty-minute micrometeorological data and hourly soil-moisture data were collected from January 1, 2002, to August 23, 2005, and are summarized in Microsoft Excel workbooks (appendix A). These data were used to compute evapotranspiration (ET) rates, volumetric soil-water content, and matric water potential. Plots of daily maxima and minima atmospheric parameters, daily average volumetric soil-water content, matric water potential, and daily ET rates are provided in appendix A.

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