Implications of seismic reflection and potential field geophysical data on the structural framework of the Yucca Mountain-Crater Flat region, Nevada
Seismic reflection and gravity profiles collected across Yucca Mountain, Nevada, together with geologic data, provide evidence against proposed active detachment faults at shallow depth along the pre-Tertiary–Tertiary contact beneath this potential repository for high-level nuclear waste. The new geophysical data show that the inferred pre-Tertiary–Tertiary contact is offset by moderate- to high-angle faults beneath Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain, and thus this shallow surface cannot represent an active detachment surface. Deeper, low-angle detachment surface(s) within Proterozoic-Paleozoic bedrock cannot be ruled out by our geophysical data, but are inconsistent with other geologic and geophysical observations in this vicinity. Beneath Crater Flat, the base of the seismogenic crust at 12 km depth is close to the top of the reflective (ductile) lower crust at 14 to 15 km depth, where brittle fault motions in the upper crust may be converted to pure shear in the ductile lower crust. Thus, our preferred interpretation of these geophysical data is that moderate- to high-angle faults extend to 12–15-km depth beneath Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat, with only modest changes in dip.
|Implications of seismic reflection and potential field geophysical data on the structural framework of the Yucca Mountain-Crater Flat region, Nevada
|T. M. Brocher, W.C. Hunter, V. E. Langenheim
|Geological Society of America Bulletin
|USGS Publications Warehouse