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Toward an Empirically-Based Parametric Explosion Spectral Model

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Conference paper

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Small underground nuclear explosions need to be confidently detected and identified in regions of the world where they have never before occurred. We are developing a parametric model of the nuclear explosion seismic source spectrum derived from regional phases Pn, Pg, Sn, and Lg that is compatible with earthquake-based geometrical spreading and attenuation. Earthquake spectra are fit with a generalized version of the Brune spectrum, which is a three-parameter model that describes the long-period level, corner-frequency, and spectral slope at high-frequencies. Explosion spectra can be fit with similar spectral models whose parameters are then correlated with near-source geology and containment conditions. We observe a correlation of high gas-porosity low strength with increased spectral slope. However, there are trade-offs between the slope and corner-frequency, which we try to independently constrain using Mueller-Murphy relations and coda-ratio techniques. We complement our previous work that focused on the Nevada National Security Site NNSS, formerly the Nevada Test Site with data from explosions at the Semipalatinsk Test Site recorded at the Borovoye Geophysical Observatory BRV. The BRV data archive allows for application of the parametric explosion model in a high-strength near-source geology. The relationship between the parametric equations and the geologic and containment conditions will assist in our physical understanding of the nuclear explosion source. The achievable goal of our parametric model development is to be able to predict observed local and regional distance seismic amplitudes for event identification and yield determination in regions with incomplete or no prior history of underground nuclear testing.

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  • Explosions

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