Drilling and coring methods that minimize the disturbance of cuttings, core, and rock formation in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada
Drilling and coring methods that minimize the disturbance of cuttings, core, and rock formation in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada A drilling-and-casing method (Odex 115 system) utilizing air as a drilling fluid was used successfully to drill through various rock types within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This paper describes this method and the equipment used to rapidly penetrate bouldery alluvial-colluvial deposits, poorly consolidated bedded and nonwelded tuff, and fractured, densely welded tuff to depths of about 130 meters. A comparison of water-content and water-potential data from drill cuttings with similar measurements on rock cores indicates that drill cuttings were only slightly disturbed for several of the rock types penetrated. Coring, sampling, and handling methods were devised to obtain minimally disturbed drive core from bouldery alluvial-colluvial deposits. Bulk-density values obtained from bulk samples dug from nearby trenches were compared to bulk-density values obtained from drive core to determine the effects of drive coring on the porosity of the core. Rotary coring methods utilizing a triple-tube core barrel and air as the drilling fluid were used to obtain core from welded and nonwelded tuff. Results indicate that the disturbance of the water content of the core was minimal. Water-content distributions in alluvium-colluvium were determined before drilling occurred by drive-core methods. After drilling, water-content distributions were determined by nuclear-logging methods. more »
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