NaCl Crystallization at the MgCl2/NaCl Solution Boundary—A Possible Natural Barrier to the Transport of Radionuclides

W. Sander and H.-J. Herbert
Gesellschaft für Strahlen- und Umweltforschung mbH, Institut für Tieflagerung, Braunschweig, Federal Republic of Germany

Abstract: Concentration, conductivity, temperature, and flow logs from sixteen brine-filled shafts in northern Germany have shown that the brines in all former potash salt mines exhibit a very sharp stratification into lower Mg-rich brine, an upper layer of Na-rich brine, and groundwater at the top. Laboratory experiments have shown that, at the MgCl2-brine/NaCl-brine boundary, both solutions become oversaturated with regard to NaCl, due to diffusion processes. NaCl therefore crystallizes from the solutions and forms a salt plug in the boundary region, which considerably reduces further diffusion. It is concluded that the observed effects would also take place in shafts. The backfilling material helps to nucleate the halite crystals and provides a structure on which they might be supported. The results of these experiments show that the density boundaries in the brine bodies act as barriers against transport of matter while the formation of a halite plug growing independently at the MgCl2/NaCl-brine interface acts as an additional barrier.

Keywords: radionuclides • MgCl2 • NaCl • brine • halite

Mineralogical Magazine; April 1985 v. 49; no. 351; p. 265-270; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1985.049.351.13
© 1985, The Mineralogical Society
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