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Open-File Report 2007–1123

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office, Office of Environmental Management under Interagency Agreement DE-AI52-07NV28100.

Magnetotelluric Data, Mid Valley, Nevada Test Site, Nevada

By Jackie M. Williams, Erin L. Wallin, Brian D. Rodriguez, Charles R. Lindsay, and Jay A. Sampson

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Open-File Report
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The United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at their Nevada Site Office (NSO) are addressing ground-water contamination resulting from historical underground nuclear testing through the Environmental Management (EM) program and, in particular, the Underground Test Area (UGTA) project.

One issue of concern is the nature of the somewhat poorly constrained pre-Tertiary geology and its effects on ground-water flow. 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 Rainier Mesa/Shoshone Mountain Corrective Action Unit (CAU).

During 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the DOE and NNSA-NSO, collected and processed data at the Nevada Test Site in and near Yucca Flat (YF) to help define the character, thickness, and lateral extent of the pre-Tertiary confining units. We collected 51 magnetotelluric (MT) and audio-magnetotelluric (AMT), stations for that research. In early 2005 we extended that research with 26 additional MT data stations, located on and near Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain (RM-SM). The new stations extended the area of the hydrogeologic study previously conducted in Yucca Flat. This work was done to help refine what is known about the character, thickness, and lateral extent of pre-Tertiary confining units. In particular, a major goal was to define the upper clastic confining unit (UCCU). The UCCU is comprised of late Devonian to Mississippian siliciclastic rocks assigned to the Eleana Formation and Chainman Shale. The UCCU underlies the Yucca Flat area and extends westward towards Shoshone Mountain, southward to Buckboard Mesa, and northward to Rainier Mesa. Late in 2005 we collected another 14 MT stations in Mid Valley and in northern Yucca Flat basin. That work was done to better determine the extent and thickness of the UCCU near the southeastern RM-SM CAU boundary with the southwestern YF CAU, and also in the northern YF CAU. The purpose of this report is to release the MT data at those 14 stations. No interpretation of the data is included here.

Version 1.0

Posted August 2007

Suggested citation:

Williams, J.M., Wallin, E.L., Rodriguez, B.D., Lindsey, C.R., and Sampson, J.A., 2007, Magnetotelluric Data, Mid Valley, Nevada Test Site, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1123, 137 p.

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