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Evidence of prehistoric flooding and the potential for future extreme flooding at Coyote Wash, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

November 1, 1995

Coyote Wash, east of Yucca Mountain and southwest of the Nevada Test Site, is the potential location for an exploratory shaft to investigate the feasibility of underground storage of radioactive waste. The potential for flooding and related fluvial-debris hazards was investigated with respect to the potential shaft location. Trenches excavated through fluvial sediment deposits revealed interstratified rock detritus emplaced by floods and debris flows. Most of the deposits are believed to be of late Quaternary age. Debros-flow deposits contain boulders as large as 3 feet in diameter. This evidence of intense prehistoric flooding and debris movement indicates the possibility of similar continuing activity. Empirical estimates of extreme flood flows in North Fork Coyote Wash, a 0.094- square-mile drainage to the shaft site, range from 900 to 2,600 cubic feet per second. Current (1992) knowledge indicates that flows of water and debris as much as 2,500 cubic feet per second can occur in the vicinity of the shaft from this drainage. Similar size flows from adjacent South Fork Coyote Wash, could arrive simultaneously in the vicinity of the shaft. Thus, cumulative water and debris from both tributaries could subject the alluvial flood plain near the shaft site to flows of as much as 5,000 cubic feet per second.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title Evidence of prehistoric flooding and the potential for future extreme flooding at Coyote Wash, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada
DOI 10.3133/ofr92458
Authors Patrick A. Glancy
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 92-458
Index ID ofr92458
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization