Oxygen and hydrogen isotope analyses have been made of (1) brines from several wells in the salt deposits of the Delaware Basin, (2) inclusion fluids in halite crystals from the ERDA No. 9 site, and (3) local ground waters of meteoric origin. The isotopic compositions indicate that the brines are genetically related and that they probably originated from the evaporation of paleo-ocean waters. Although highly variable in solute contents, the brines have rather uniform isotopic compositions. The stable isotope compositions of brine from the ERDA No. 6 site (826.3 m depth) and fluid inclusions from the ERDA No. 9 site are variable but remarkably regular and show that (1) mixing with old or modern meteoric waters has occurred, the extent of mixing apparently decreasing with depth, and (2) water in the ERDA No. 6 brine may have originated from the dehydration of gypsum. Alternatively, the data may reflect simple evaporation of meteoric water on a previously dry marine flat. Stable isotope compositions of all the waters analyzed indicate that there has been fairly extensive mixing with ground water throughout the area, but that no significant circulation has occurred. The conclusions bear importantly on the suitability of these salt beds and others as repositories for nuclear waste. ?? 1986.
Additional publication details
The origin of fluids in the salt beds of the Delaware Basin, New Mexico and Texas