Dynamic and cyclic properties in shear of tuff specimens from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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Jeon, Seong Yeol, 1972-

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Yucca Mountain was designated as the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository by the U.S. Government in 1987. The proposed repository design requires high safety for a long maintenance period of 10,000 years. To satisfy this requirement, evaluation of the influence of earthquakes on the repository is necessary. Prediction of earthquake-induced ground motions around the repository requires knowledge of the dynamic properties of the geologic materials around the repository. The main geologic materials in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain are tuffs (ignimbrites) which are formed by the deposition of volcanic ash mixed with erupted volcanic gas, water vapor and pyroclastic material. Two types of dynamic tests, (1) the free-free, unconfined, resonant column and direct arrival test (freefree URC test) and (2) the fixed-free resonant column and torsional shear test (fixed-free RCTS test), were used to measure the dynamic properties of tuffs. The emphasis in this dynamic testing was evaluation of shear modulus (G) and material damping ratio (D) of the tuffs in the small-strain (linear) and mildly nonlinear (to strains of about 0.02 %) ranges. To evaluate the influence of various parameters on G and D of tuffs, correlations with other features such as total unit weight, porosity and stratigraphic unit were performed and general relationships between them are proposed. In addition, an unconfined, slow-cyclic torsional shear (CTS) device was developed and used to measure the cyclic shear properties of the tuffs from Yucca Mountain at larger strain amplitudes than possible in the fixed-free RCTS tests. Additionally, the CTS device was also used to determine the shear failure strength of the tuffs. By combining the cyclic shear properties of the tuffs from the CTS tests and the dynamic properties of the tuffs from the fixed-free RCTS tests, complete dynamic property curves from small-strain to failure strain were evaluated.