AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition

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Savannah River National Laboratory Core Repository: Core Used in Real World Fluid and Chemical Transport Assessments


The coastline of South Carolina is familiar to geoscientists and petroleum engineers as a field laboratory for observing modern coastal processes as analogs for ancient sedimentary environments. Inland, the southeastern Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic province extends from the Fall Line to the shoreline and is underlain by mostly unconsolidated sediments deposited along a passive emergent margin during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. The sediments of the southeastern Atlantic Coastal Plain in South Carolina are stratified quartz sand, clay, calcareous sediment, and conglomerates that dip gently seaward and range from late Cretaceous to Holocene. At the United States Department of Energy Savannah River Site (SRS), the site geologic data archive includes more than 12,000 borings, wells and cone penetrometer soundings, more than 300 km (200 mi) of seismic reflection data, many kilometers of seismic refraction data, and regional soil gas chemical surveys. Many of the borings were cored and more than 50 miles of core are archived in the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) repository. The repository provides a unique opportunity to observe fluvial, deltaic, and shallow marine sand, mud and calcareous sediments of the upper Atlantic Coastal Plain along with the underlying Paleozoic bedrock and Dunbarton Triassic Basin sequences. At the SRS, primary uses of the core are to understand sediment heterogeneity and resulting effect on contaminant migration, groundwater availability, drought response and other environmental applications as well as geotechnical facility siting and foundation design. Physical properties (grain size, porosity, permeability, Kd, etc.) are incorporated into radiological performance assessments and groundwater fate and transport models. Cores will be displayed that focus on the fluvial, deltaic, and shallow marine sequences with discussion of depositional facies and environment, fabric and texture, and stratigraphy. A detailed environmental characterization will be featured that illustrates how SRS uses core data in real world applications to assess the environmental “water reservoir quality.”