SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Geophysical Methods Used to Guide Hydrogeological Investigations at an Umtra Site Near Grand Junction, Colorado


Surface geophysical surveys played a key role in identifying a suitable hydrogeologic location for a Department of Energy Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) disposal cell near Grand Junction, Colorado. Drilling and excavation work conducted as part of a first phase of site characterization activities had determined that a previously identified 35 hectare (90 acre) disposal cell location was underlain by shallow ground water (6 to 12 meters deep) suitable for domestic use. This shallow ground water was found to be confined to a complex system of alluvial-colluvial filled paleochannels eroded into the upper surface of the underlying Mancos shale bedrock. Geophysical methods were then used to cost-effectively direct a second phase of drilling and excavation activities which delineated an adjacent disposal cell location that was free of shallow ground water. Since this new disposal cell location was within the original designated site area of approximately 240 hectare (600 acres), considerable cost and time savings were realized by this surface geophysics directed field characterization program.

Author Information

Wightman, WE
Martinek, BC
Hammermeister, D
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 69–78
DOI: 10.1520/STP19120S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5182-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1462-3