A new Brigham Young University study indicates that the water arriving at Ash Meadows is completing a 15,000-year journey, flowing slowly underground from what is now the Nevada Test Site.
The U.S. government tested nuclear bombs there for four decades, and a crack in the Earth’s crust known as the “Gravity Fault” connects its aquifer with Ash Meadows.
It will presumably be another 15,000 years before radioactive water surfaces at Ash Meadows, Nelson said. A more pressing issue for wildlife managers at Ash Meadows is the current decline in populations of Devil’s Hole Pupfish and three other endangered fish species.
“Since the crust in Western states is being pulled apart east to west, it creates north-south fault lines such as this one that guides groundwater from one geographically closed basin to another,” said Stephen Nelson, a BYU geology professor and co-author of the study.
The study appears in the May 28 issue of The Journal of Hydrology.
Of the possible sources, only water from the Nevada Test Site matched the profile of dissolved minerals and had comparable hydrogen and oxygen isotopes. Water from the Spring Mountains near Las Vegas – previously assumed to be the source of Ash Meadows water – carried a different isotopic signature.
The BYU researchers combed through more than 4,000 published water samples from the region, many of those from U.S. Geological Survey wells. From this large data set emerged 246 distinct groundwater sources that they tested against the chemical make-up of water from Ash Meadows.
“The results are parsimonious,” Nelson said. “A majority of the water at Ash Meadows flows from the north through fractures in the Gravity Fault.”
Prior to joining the BYU faculty in 1997, Professor Nelson earned a Ph.D. from UCLA and worked as a scientific contractor for the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The lead author of the new study is Michelle Bushman, who completed a master’s degree in geology at BYU. Bushman also received a J.D. from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School.
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine