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MUFONET-BBS NETWORK - MUTUAL UFO NETWORK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SCIENCE NEWS - WIRE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 旼컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴커 =START= XMT: 18:13 Thu Aug 08 EXP: 18:00 Fri Aug 09 쿒EOLOGISTS DEBATE VOLCANIC HISTORY OF NEVADA NUCLEAR WASTE 쿏UMP SITE 쿥ASHINGTON (AUG. 8) UPI - Geologists disputed estimates 쿟hursday that the last volcanic activity at a proposed 쿻uclear waste dump in Nevada occurred 20,000 years ago, 퀂aying they think it dates back some 140,000 years. 쿝esearchers from the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, 쿎alif., said their analysis of magnetic fields and the decay 쿽f radioactive elements indicate two closely timed volcanic 쿮ruptions occurred near the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site 쿪bout 140,000 years ago. 쿟hat scenario contrasts sharply with work by Steve Wells of 퀃he University of California-Riverside, whose research based 쿽n the structure and spacing of soil and rocks found 쿮vidence of five distinct volcanic eruptions running from 쿪bout 100,000 years ago to about 20,000 years ago. 쿟he Energy Department chose Yucca Mountain as a potential 퀁epository for high-level radioactive waste like fuel rods 쿯rom nuclear power plants because it was thought to be a 쿲eologically stable area where buried waste could remain 퀅ndisturbed for centuries. 쿢nder federal mandate, such radioactive wastes must be 쿶solated for 10,000 years. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission 퀇ould have the final say on whether it is safe to use Yucca 쿘ountain as a dump site. 쿔n their study published in the journal Science, Brent 쿟urrin and his colleagues from the geological survey said 퀃hey think Wells's age estimate of volcanic activity is ''miscalibrated.'' 쿓owever, Wells countered that there are ''inherent 쿾roblems'' in Turrin's dating approach and he sees nothing 쿶n the latest study to make him change his mind about his 쿽riginal estimate. 쿍ruce Crowe, the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist in 쿬harge of volcanism studies for the Yucca Mountain site, 퀂aid he is ''trying to stay open minded and look at all 쿾ossible alternatives'' for the volcanic history of the 퀂ite. 쿔n any case, the age of the latest volcanic eruption may 쿺ean little when it comes to the safety of the site for 쿭isposing of high-level nuclear wastes. 쿞ome models suggest the younger the volcanic activity is, 퀃he greater the risk of an eruption damaging the site, while 쿽ther models suggest more recent eruptions may point to a 쿹onger resting spell before volcanic activity starts up 쿪gain. 쿔n planning for a dump site, Crowe said he would prefer to 쿮rr on the side of caution. ''The error we don't want to 쿺ake is assume that it's volcanic activity is old when it's 퀁eally young. There's nothing wrong with assuming it's young 퀇hen it's really old,'' he said. 쿎rowe added that the potassium-argon radioactive dating 쿺ethod used by Turrin's team has limitations and the margin 쿽f error is not well known for the age of rocks they are 쿭ating. =END=

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