A new earthquake fault has been identified in the Yucca Mountain region. In early January, a federal geologist identified and named the Sundance Fault, a northwest trending fault that appears to intersect the previously discovered Ghost Dance Fault that runs though the center of the proposed repository site at Yucca Mountian.
It is unknown how deep or wide the new fault is. That will not be determined until scientists can drill far enough into Yucca Mountain to explore the fault zone area.
Carl Johnson, administrator of technical programs for the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, said the two fault zones could reduce the proposed high-level nuclear dump area by 20%, but DOE spokesmen have said that figure is a broad generalization.
The DOE maintains that a possible fault zone in the area was identified but unnamed on a 1984 map. The state claims the fault was not included on the 1984 map. Yucca Mountain Project scientists counted thirty-two faults, or earthquake fracture zones, in the Yucca Mountain area, not including the Sundance Fault.