Less is Better

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Science  05 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5540, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5540.15c

One concern with the safety of the proposed high-level nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain is the risk of a nearby earthquake. This repository is located in the active Basin and Range region of the western United States, an area that has been undergoing broad crustal extension; in addition, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck southwest Nevada in 1992. One of several recent geodetic surveys suggested that the region including Yucca Mountain was extending fairly rapidly to the northwest at a rate of nearly 1 millimeter per year across 14 kilometers of the proposed repository. This result also suggests that deformation within the Basin and Range might be episodic. Savage et al. have obtained new geodetic results from an extensive array centered on Yucca Mountain and conclude that the deformation is no more than half this amount.—BH

J. Geophys. Res.106, 16483 (2001).

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