MAGNET GPS Station - Photo by Geoff Blewitt

Yucca Mountain

Landsat image of Yucca Mountain

The Basin And Range GEodetic Network (BARGEN) continuous GPS network has been densified around Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada, to help produce seismic hazard estimates for the proposed nuclear waste facility. The NGL has been processing data from this network since installation in May 1999. Until 2009, we were working in collaboration with the Space Geodesy Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the GPS group at Caltech. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

We processed the data using the JPL GIPSY-OASIS II software. In order to ensure quality assurance, the group at CfA were processing the data using the MIT GAMIT software. The software comparison has proven that the Yucca Mountain GPS network is producing high precision, sub-mm level results.

Yucca Mountain is located within both the southern Walker Lane and the Basin and Range. It is also located at a short distance to the east of the Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ); the Death-Valley/Furnace-Creek fault system is only ~ 50 km to the west. There are also a significant number of local Quaternary faults at Bare Mountain, Yucca Mountain and the Rock Valley fault zone (the location of the 1992 M5.6 and 2002 M4.4 Little Skull Mountain earthquakes). A goal was to understand how much of the strain measured with GPS is due to the ECSZ and how much can be attributed to local faults.

Other sources of information:
University of Nevada, Reno
Last edited 18 January 2017.