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Boreholes open to the unsaturated zone at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were variously sampled for CO2 (including 13C and 14C), CH4, N2, O2, Ar, CFC-11, CFC12, and CFC-113 from 1986 to 1993. Air enters the mountain in outcrops, principally on the eastern slope, is enriched in CO2 by mixing with soil gas, and is advected to the mountain crest, where it returns to the atmosphere. The CFC data indicate that travel times of the advecting gas in the shallow Tiva Canyon hydrogeologic unit are ???5 years. The 14C activities are postbomb to depths of 100 m, indicating little retardation of 14CO2 in the shallow flow systems. The 14C activities from 168 to 404 m in the Topopah Spring hydrogeologic unit are 85-90 pMC at borehole USW-UZ6. The CFC data show that the drilling of USW-UZ6 in 1984 has altered the natural system by providing a conduit through the Paintbrush Nonwelded unit, allowing flow from Topopah Spring outcrops in Solitario Canyon on the west to USW-UZ6, upward in the borehole through the Paintbrush, to the shallow Tiva Canyon flow systems, and out of the mountain.
Additional Publication Details
Chemistry of unsaturated zone gases sampled in open boreholes at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Data and basic concepts of chemical and physical processes in the mountain