Salt of Permian age in the subsurface of an area near The Divide, east of Carlsbad, N. Mex., is being considered for a nuclear waste repository. The geologic history of the region indicates that dissolution of salt has occurred in the past during at least three distinct epochs: (1) after Triassic but before middle Pleistocene time; (2) during middle Pleistocene; and (3) during late Pleistocene. Thus, destructive geologic processes have been intermittent through more than I00 million years.
Nash Draw, near The Divide, formed during late Pleistocene time by the coalescing of collapse sinks. The rate of its subsidence is estimated to have been about 10 cm (0.33 foot) per thousand years. The immediate area of The Divide adjacent to Nash Draw has not undergone stress by geologic processes during Pleistocene time and there are no present indications that this geologic environment will change drastically within the period of concern for the repository.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Geologic processes and Cenozoic history related to salt dissolution in southeastern New Mexico