Analyses of pore water extracted from cores of boreholes USW SD-6 in the central part and USW WT-24 in the northern part of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, show significant vertical and lateral variations in dissolved-ion concentrations. Analyses of samples of only a few milliliters of pore water extracted by uniaxial or triaxial compression and by ultracentrifugation methods from adjacent core samples are generally in agreement, within the analytical error of 10% to 15%. However, the values of silica for water obtained by ultracentrifugation are consistently lower than values for water obtained by compression. The larger concentrations probably are due to localized pressure solution of silicate minerals during compression. The shallower water from core in borehole USW SD-6 was extracted from nonwelded units collectively referred to as the Paintbrush Tuff nonwelded (PTn). The deeper water was from core in both boreholes USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 in the nonwelded units referred to as the Calico Hills nonwelded (CHn). Significant differences in mean dissolved-ion concentrations in pore water between the PTn and CHn are (1) decreases in Ca, Mg, SO4, and NO3 and (2) increases in HCO3 and (Na+K)/(Ca+Mg) ratios. The decrease in NO3 and the increase in HCO3 could be the result of denitrification through the oxidation of organic matter. The decrease in Ca and associated increase in (Na+K)/(Ca+Mg) is the result of ion exchange with zeolites in the CHn in borehole USW WT-24. This effect is not nearly as pronounced in borehole USW SD-6, probably reflecting a smaller amount of zeolitization of the CHn in USW SD-6. Geochemical calculations using the PHREEQC code indicate that the pore water from both boreholes USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 is uniformly undersaturated in anhydrite, gypsum, and amorphous silica, but supersaturated in quartz and chalcedony. The saturation of calcite, aragonite, sepiolite, and dolomite is more variable from sample to sample. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Chemical analyses of pore water from boreholes USW SD-6 and USW WT-24, Yucca Mountain, Nevada