Three-dimensional numerical models were used to determine the permeable pathways between the HANDLEY underground nuclear test and downgradient boreholes ER-20-12 and PM-3, Pahute Mesa, southern Nevada. The SEAWAT code was used to couple MODFLOW and MT3DMS models, where the coupled model simulated groundwater-flow and tritium migration from the HANDLEY test for 50 years, from the date of detonation of the HANDLEY test (March 26, 1970) to March 26, 2020. Recharge, hydraulic-conductivity, specific-storage, and effective-porosity distributions were estimated using parameter estimation (PEST) by minimizing a weighted composite, sum-of-squares objective function. Simulated water-level altitudes in 10 wells, vertical water-level differences between 5 well pairs, aquifer-test transmissivity estimates in 9 wells, tritium concentrations in 7 wells, and drawdowns in wells PM-3-1 and PM-3-2 from groundwater withdrawals in borehole ER-20-12 were compared to measured equivalents during parameter estimation and formally defined the goodness-of-fit or improvement of calibration. This USGS data release contains data, analyses, and model files for the simulations and analyses described in the associated model documentation report (https://doi.org/10.3133/sir2021XXXX). Supplementary data and analyses are in the ancillary directory, including transmissivity estimates (Appendix A); water-level models to estimate drawdowns (Appendix B); tritium data (Appendix C); the modified hydrostratigraphic framework in the numerical models (Appendix D); effective-porosity estimates (Appendix E); the Pahute Mesa&amp;amp;ndash;Oasis Valley groundwater model (Appendix F); model-calibration files (Appendix G); and pre-processing routines to build model files (Appendix H). The numerical model was calibrated using a multi-model approach and a two-step process. First, the groundwater model was calibrated, which consists of (1) a steady-state model simulating steady-state (predevelopment) groundwater flow; and (2) a transient model simulating drawdowns from groundwater withdrawals during the drilling of borehole ER-20-12. A transport model was developed that uses the best-fit estimated hydraulic-conductivity field from the calibrated groundwater model and was used to estimate dispersion and effective porosities.
|Title||SEAWAT code used to couple MODFLOW and MT3DMS models, and supplemental data used to simulate groundwater flow and tritium transport from the HANDLEY underground nuclear test, Pahute Mesa, southern Nevada|
|Product Type||Data Release|
|Record Source||USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog|
Permeable groundwater pathways and tritium migration patterns from the HANDLEY underground nuclear test, Pahute Mesa, Nevada
Permeable groundwater pathways and tritium migration patterns from the HANDLEY underground nuclear test, Pahute Mesa, NevadaThe HANDLEY nuclear test was detonated at about 2,700 feet below the water table on March 26, 1970, in Pahute Mesa, south-central Nevada. Measured tritium concentrations in boreholes ER-20-12 and PM-3 indicate that a shallow tritium plume has migrated more than 1 mile (mi) downgradient from the HANDLEY test within a semi-perched aquifer and deeper tritium plumes have migrated 4.5 miles (mi) withinAuthorsTracie R. Jackson