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Hydrogeology of the Great Basin region of Nevada, Utah, and adjacent states

ABSTRACT The many geologic formations and rock types found in the Great Basin can be grouped into 12 major hydrogeologic units on the basis of lithology, areal extent, and water-bearing characteristics. The units range in age from Precambrian through Holocene, and represent metamorphic rocks, carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks of both marine and continental origin, and plutonic and volcanic rocks. Regional aquifers are comprised of basin-fill deposits in all parts of the Great Basin, Paleozoic carbonate rocks (limestone and dolomite) in the eastern Great Basin, and possibly Tertiary and Quaternary volcanic rocks in some parts of the Great Basin.

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    ABSTRACT: Arsenic and selenium concentrations along with the major solutes were measured in ground-waters sampled from springs in Pahranagat Valley and Ash Meadows, Nevada, Death Valley, California, and from wells from the Nevada Test Site and Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The multivariate statistical technique correspondence analysis was applied to the data to determine relationships between the groundwaters from these areas, the aquifer materials and the As and Se concentrations, and to examine the relationships between As and Se and the other chemical parameters included in the statistical analysis. The correspondence analysis indicates that a strong relationship exists between chloride and Se in the groundwaters and that As is not associated with chloride. The strong association between chloride and Se suggests that Se behaves more conservatively than As in these oxygenated, circumneutral pH groundwaters. No strong association was observed between the As and/or Se concentrations of the groundwaters and the aquifer material with which these waters interact (i.e. regional Paleozoic carbonate aquifer, Tertiary tuffaceous volcanic rocks, and/or basin-fill deposits). However, it is likely that sampling of groundwaters from the various aquifers was insufficient to determine relationships between the aquifer materials and groundwater chemistry. Associations were observed between the groundwaters of the Nevada Test Site and Yucca Mountain regions and the groundwaters of the regional carbonate aquifer that discharge at Ash Meadows and Death Valley, suggesting mixing of these waters. Ground-water from the regional carbonate aquifer in Pahranagat Valley, which is upgradient from the Nevada Test Site, Yucca Mountain, Ash Meadows, and Death Valley, exhibited no association with groundwaters from these regions.
    Journal of Hydrology 04/1996; 178(1-4):181-204. DOI:10.1016/0022-1694(95)02804-8 · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The rare earth element (REE) signature of ground waters from both felsic volcanic rocks on the Nevada Test Site and from the regional Paleozoic carbonate aquifer of southern Nevada resemble the REE signature of the rocks through which they flow. Moreover, the REE signatures of Ash Meadows ground waters are similar to those of springs in the Furnace Creek region of Death Valley but different from shallow ground waters from predominantly tuffaceous alluvial deposits in the Amargosa Desert, perched ground waters from felsic volcanic rocks, and ground waters that have only flowed through the regional Paleozoic carbonate aquifer. The similar REE patterns of Ash Meadows and Furnace Creek ground waters support previous investigations that suggested ground waters discharging from the Furnace Creek springs are similar to the ground waters emerging from the Ash Meadows springs. The REE patterns indicate that the contribution of ground water from the Amargosa Desert to the Furnace Creek springs is of minor importance. Our REE analyses along with previous stable isotope, ground-water potentiometric surface relationships, and geologic structure analyses support ground-water flow from east to west in the fractured and faulted carbonate rocks beneath Ash Meadows, the Amargosa Desert, and the southern end of the Funeral Mountains. Our observations are contrary to some previous investigations that identified shallow ground waters from the central and northwestern Amargosa Desert as a substantial component of the ground water that discharges from the Furnace Creek springs.
    Ground Water 09/1997; 35(5):807-819. DOI:10.1111/j.1745-6584.1997.tb00149.x · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Groundwater samples were collected from 11 springs in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in southern Nevada and seven springs from Death Valley National Park in eastern California. Concentrations of the major cations (Ca, Mg, Na and K) and 45 trace elements were determined in these groundwater samples. The resultant data were subjected to evaluation via the multivariate statistical technique principal components analysis (PCA), to investigate the chemical relationships between the Ash Meadows and Death Valley spring waters, to evaluate whether the results of the PCA support those of previous hydrogeological and isotopic studies and to determine if PCA can be used to help delineate potential groundwater flow patterns based on the chemical compositions of groundwaters. The results of the PCA indicated that groundwaters from the regional Paleozoic carbonate aquifers (all of the Ash Meadows springs and four springs from the Furnace Creek region of Death Valley) exhibited strong statistical associations, whereas other Death Valley groundwaters were chemically different. The results of the PCA support earlier studies, where potentiometric head levels, δ18O and δD, geological relationships and rare earth element data were used to evaluate groundwater flow, which suggest groundwater flows from Ash Meadows to the Furnace Creek springs in Death Valley. The PCA suggests that Furnace Creek groundwaters are moderately concentrated Ash Meadows groundwater, reflecting longer aquifer residence times for the Furnace Creek groundwaters. Moreover, PCA indicates that groundwater may flow from springs in the region surrounding Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park, to a spring discharging on the valley floor. The study indicates that PCA may provide rapid and relatively cost-effective methods to assess possible groundwater flow regimes in systems that have not been previously investigated. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Hydrological Processes 12/1999; 13(17):2655-2673. DOI:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1085(19991215)13:17<2655::AID-HYP840>3.0.CO;2-4 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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