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The suitability of salt domes in the East Texas basin (Tyler basin), Texas, for long-term isolation of nuclear wastes is being evaluated. The major problems concern hydrologic and tectonic stability of the domes and potential natural resources in the basin. These problems are being approached by integration of dome-specific and regional hydrologic, geologic, geomorphic, and remote-sensing investigations. Hydrologic studies are evaluating basinal hydrology and groundwater flow around the domes to determine the degree to which salt domes are dissolving, their rates of solution, and the orientation of saline plumes in the freshwater aquifers. Subsurface geologic studies are being conducted: (1) to determine the size and shape of specific salt domes, the geology of the strata immediately surrounding the domes, and the regional geology of the East Texas basin; (2) to understand the geologic history of the dome growth and basin infilling; and (3) to evaluate potential natural resources. Geomorphic and surficial geology studies are determining whether there have been dome growth and tectonic movement in the basin during the Quaternary. Remote-sensing studies are being conducted to determine (1) whether dome uplift has altered regional lineation patterns in Quaternary sediments and (2) whether drainage density and ruggedness ratios indicate Quaternary structural movement.
By means of the screening criteria of McClain and others, Oakwood and Keechi domes were chosen as possible candidate domes. Twenty-three domes were eliminated because of insufficient size, too great a depth to salt, major hydrocarbon production, or previous use (e.g., liquid propane storage or salt mining or brining). Detailed geologic, hydrologic, and geomorphic investigations are being conducted around Oakwood and Keechi salt domes.
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