Locating Filed Confirmation Study Areas for Isolation of Nuclear Waste in the Texas Panhandle




Gustavson, Thomas C.
Handford, C. Robertson
Presley, Mark W.
Baumgardner, Jr., Robert W.
Dutton, Shirley P.
Finley, Robert J.
McGillis, Kathy A.
Simpkins, W. W.

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Since early 1977, the Bureau of Economic Geology has been evaluating several salt-bearing basins within the State of Texas as part of the national nuclear repository program. The Bureau, a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin and the State of Texas, is carrying out a long-term program to gather and interpret all geologic and hydrologic information necessary for description, delineation, and evaluation of salt-bearing strata in the Palo Duro and Dalhart Basins of the Texas Panhandle.

The program in FY 79 has been subdivided into four broad research tasks, which are addressed by a basin analysis group, a surface studies group, a geohydrology group, and a host-rock analysis group (fig. 1). The basin analysis group has delineated the structural and stratigraphic framework of the basins, initiated natural resource assessment, and integrated data from 8,000 ft (2,400 m) of core material into salt-stratigraphy models. Salt depth and thickness have been delineated for seven salt-bearing stratigraphic units. Concurrently, the surface studies group has collected ground and remotely sensed data to describe surficial processes, including salt solution, slope retreat/erosion mechanisms, geomorphic evolution, and fracture system development. The basin geohydrology group has begun evaluating both shallow and deep fluid circulation within the basins. The newly formed host-rock analysis group has initiated the study of cores from two drilling sites for analysis of salt and the various lithologies overlying and interbedded with salt units.

This paper, a summary report of progress in FY 79, presents principal conclusions and reviews methods used and types of data and maps generated. Topical reports, discussing various geological aspects of the Palo Duro and Dalhart Basins in detail, will be forthcoming as phases of the study are completed.


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