Commentary on “Radioactive waste storage in the arid zone”


  • Anonymous


The length of the reference list in the paper ‘Radioactive Waste Storage in the Arid Zone’ by Isaac Winograd (EOS, 55,884–894, 1974) suggests that the author read extensively. However, at least two of the references contain information, if examined intensively, that tends to refute the author's assertion of the lack (or low value) of deep infiltrations under interfluve areas. A photograph in a work by Ruhe [1967, p. 61] shows stringers of caliche descending into the subsoil in an area of about 8 in. (∼203 mm) of precipitation annually. Brown [1956] pointed out that caliche under surface depressions extended tens of meters down into the vadose zone of the High Plains in an area of 16–22 in. (∼404–559 mm) of precipitation. Abundant natural and artificial outcrops observed by the writer reinforce these evidences of deep infiltration through the vadose zone in interfluve areas where precipitation does not exceed 10 in. (254 mm) per year. There is no reason why ‘periodic recharge by see page’ should not occur under minor as well as ‘major arroyo bottoms’ or why ‘deep infiltration beneath closed depressions’ should not occur under small depressions in semiarid areas as well as under the larger ones of the High Plains.