Yucca Mountain, located ~100 mi northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been designated by Congress as a site to be characterized for a potential mined geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. This field trip will examine the regional geologic and hydrologic setting for Yucca Mountain, as well as specific results of the site characterization program. The first day focuses on the regional setting with emphasis on current and paleo hydrology, which are both of critical concern for predicting future performance of a potential repository. Morning stops will be southern Nevada and afternoon stops will be in Death Valley. The second day will be spent at Yucca Mountain. The field trip will visit the underground testing sites in the "Exploratory Studies Facility" and the "Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Field Test" plus several surface-based testing sites. Much of the work at the site has concentrated on studies of the unsaturated zone, an element of the hydrologic system that historically has received little attention. Discussions during the second day will compromise selected topics of Yucca Mountain geology, hydrology and geochemistry and will include the probabilistic volcanic hazard analysis and the seismicity and seismic hazard in the Yucca Mountain area. Evening discussions will address modeling of regional groundwater flow, the results of recent hydrologic studies by the Nye County Nuclear Waste Program Office, and the relationship of the geology and hydrology of Yucca Mountain to the performance of a potential repository. Day 3 will examine the geologic framework and hydrology of the Pahute Mesa-Oasis Valley Groundwater Basin and then will continue to Reno via Hawthorne, Nevada and the Walker Lake area.
Additional publication details
Hydrologic and geologic characteristics of the Yucca Mountain site relevant to the performance of a potential repository