Seismic Evaluation and Reconnaissance TDEM Survey of the Southeast and Playa 3 Areas of the Pantex Plant, Carson County, Texas

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In response to a recommendation in the recent "Protecting the Ogallala Aquifer II" report, the Bureau of Economic Geology (the Bureau) evaluated the potential of seismic reflection and TDEM (Time-Domain Electromagnetic) methods to define the distribution and thickness variations of the Ogallala fine-grained zone (FGZ) that perches groundwater beneath the Pantex Plant. Bureau researchers briefly examined existing seismic reflection data collected at and near the Pantex Plant by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and by the Bureau, conducted TDEM modeling studies, and acquired reconnaissance TDEM data in the Pantex Southeast and Playa 3 areas.

The existing seismic reflection surveys had broad objectives that extended from the Ogallala caprock to the base of the Ogallala Formation. These surveys provided basic data on the stratigraphic framework of playa and interplaya areas. Although the top of the FGZ appears to be a good seismic reflector in existing data, reprocessing the limited COE and Bureau seismic data in the Pantex Southeast area might enhance that reflection and reveal other associated reflectors in the same depth range. Further improvement in the seismic characterization of the FGZ would require acquisition of new seismic data that would benefit from the restricted target depth and recent advances in seismic equipment.


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