Physical and hydrologic properties of outcrop samples from a nonwelded to welded tuff transition, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4061

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Quantitative material-property data are needed to describe lateral and vertical spatial variability of physical and hydrologic properties and to model ground-water flow and radionuclide transport at the potential Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository site in Nevada. As part of ongoing site characterization studies of Yucca Mountain directed toward this understanding of spatial variability, laboratory measurements of porosity, bull* and particle density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and sorptivity have been obtained for a set of outcrop samples that form a systematic,two dimensional grid that covers a large exposure of the basal Tiva Canyon Tuff of the Paintbrush Group of Miocene age at Yucca Mountain. The samples form a detailed vertical grid roughly parallel to the transport direction of the parent ash flows, and they exhibit material-property varia- tions in an interval of major lithologic change overlying a potential nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The observed changes in hydrologic properties were systematic and consistent with the changes expected for the nonwelded to welded transition at the base of a major ash-flow sequence. Porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and sorptivity decreased upward from the base of the Tiva Canyon Tuff, indicating the progressive compaction of ash- rich volcanic debris and the onset of welding with increased overburden pressure from the accumulating ash-flow sheet. The rate of decrease in the values of these material properties varied with vertical position within the transition interval. In contrast, bulk-density values increased upward, a change that also is consistent with progressive compaction and the onset of welding. Particle-density values remained almost constant throughout the transition interval, probably indicating compositional (chemical) homogeneity.

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USGS Numbered Series
Physical and hydrologic properties of outcrop samples from a nonwelded to welded tuff transition, Yucca Mountain, Nevada
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey : Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
iv, 29 p. :ill., map ;28 cm. [PGS - 28 p.]