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Development of Hydrologic Characterization Technology of Fault Zones -- Phase I, 2nd Report


This is the year-end report of the 2nd year of the NUMO-LBNL collaborative project: Development of Hydrologic Characterization Technology of Fault Zones under NUMO-DOE/LBNL collaboration agreement, the task description of which can be found in the Appendix 3. Literature survey of published information on the relationship between geologic and hydrologic characteristics of faults was conducted. The survey concluded that it may be possible to classify faults by indicators based on various geometric and geologic attributes that may indirectly relate to the hydrologic property of faults. Analysis of existing information on the Wildcat Fault and its surrounding geology was performed. The Wildcat Fault is thought to be a strike-slip fault with a thrust component that runs along the eastern boundary of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It is believed to be part of the Hayward Fault system but is considered inactive. Three trenches were excavated at carefully selected locations mainly based on the information from the past investigative work inside the LBNL property. At least one fault was encountered in all three trenches. Detailed trench mapping was conducted by CRIEPI (Central Research Institute for Electric Power Industries) and LBNL scientists. Some intriguing and puzzling discoveries were made that may contradict with the published work in the past. Predictions are made regarding the hydrologic property of the Wildcat Fault based on the analysis of fault structure. Preliminary conceptual models of the Wildcat Fault were proposed. The Wildcat Fault appears to have multiple splays and some low angled faults may be part of the flower structure. In parallel, surface geophysical investigations were conducted using electrical resistivity survey and seismic reflection profiling along three lines on the north and south of the LBNL site. Because of the steep terrain, it was difficult to find optimum locations for survey lines as it is desirable for them to be as straight as possible. One interpretation suggests that the Wildcat Fault is westerly dipping. This could imply that the Wildcat Fault may merge with the Hayward Fault at depth. However, due to the complex geology of the Berkeley Hills, multiple interpretations of the geophysical surveys are possible. iv An effort to construct a 3D GIS model is under way. The model will be used not so much for visualization of the existing data because only surface data are available thus far, but to conduct investigation of possible abutment relations of the buried formations offset by the fault. A 3D model would be useful to conduct 'what if' scenario testing to aid the selection of borehole drilling locations and configurations. Based on the information available thus far, a preliminary plan for borehole drilling is outlined. The basic strategy is to first drill boreholes on both sides of the fault without penetrating it. Borehole tests will be conducted in these boreholes to estimate the property of the fault. Possibly a slanted borehole will be drilled later to intersect the fault to confirm the findings from the boreholes that do not intersect the fault. Finally, the lessons learned from conducting the trenching and geophysical surveys are listed. It is believed that these lessons will be invaluable information for NUMO when it conducts preliminary investigations at yet-to-be selected candidate sites in Japan.

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