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Seismic Identification Analyses of Cavity Decoupled Nuclear and Chemical Explosions

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Successful seismic monitoring of any eventual Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will require development of a capability to identify signals from small cavity decoupled nuclear explosions from among numerous signals to be expected from earthquakes, rockbursts and chemical explosion CE events of comparable magnitude. The investigations summarized in this report focus on preliminary studies which have been carried out in an attempt to distinguish between decoupled nuclear explosions and CE events though analyses of observed and simulated seismic data for these two source types in both the U.S. and former Soviet Union. Near-regional seismic data recorded from the U.S. nuclear cavity decoupling test STERLING and the nearby tamped CE test STERLING HE are compared in Section II in an attempt to identify diagnostic differences between these two source types. This is followed in Section III by an analysis in which short- period P wave data recorded at NORSAR from Soviet nuclear tests conducted in salt cavities at Azgir site north of the Caspian Sea are systematically compared with corresponding data recorded at the same stations from presumed CE events of comparable size which have been located in the vicinity of Azgir site. In Secion IV, broadband seismic data recorded at near-regional Soviet stations from an Azgir nuclear cavity decoupling test are theoretically scaled to 1 kt fully decoupled level and compared with data recorded at the nearby IRIS station KIV from well-documented CE events. The results of these preliminary comparison studies indicate that seismic discrimination between these two explosion source types is not trivial and suggest that a reliable discrimination strategy will have to be based on detailed analysis of data from multiple seismic phases.

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  • Seismology
  • Nuclear Weapons

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