Micromorphology of Pedogenically Derived Fracture Fills in Bandelier Tuff, New Mexico Academic Article uri icon


  • Fractures in the Bandelier Tuff are potential paths for water movement and transport of contaminants from waste disposal sites and other contaminated areas at Los Alamos. Contaminants transported in this way could ultimately be found in Los Alamos drinking water or in the Rio Grande, which flows through heavily populated area in both the US and Mexico. We conducted this study to determine (i) the morphology and origin of soil-like material in the fractures, and (ii) the likelihood of significant water movement through the fractures. The presence of live roots throughout the fracture fills indicates the presence of water, but the smectitic clay and massive carbonate make it unlikely that significant water movement is now taking place through the fractures. The potential creation of new macropores by a variety of processes, however, including seismic activity and biological disturbance, could allow rapid water movement and contaminant transport. -from Authors

author list (cited authors)

  • Davenport, D. W., Wilcox, B. P., & Allen, B. L.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • November 1995