Geologic Site Characterization of the North Korean Nuclear Test Site at Punggye-Ri: A Reconnaissance Mapping Redux
LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LAB NM
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High-resolution information about the geologic setting for denied-access sites is critical for the monitoring and detection of clandestine nuclear test e.g., the evaluation of seismic wave propagation, the prediction of gas releases, and evaluation of tunnel layouts. An important case-in-point is the lack of precise, large-scale geologic maps for North Koreas underground nuclear test site near Punggye-ri. As a proof-of-principle, we have developed and applied a geologic assessment methodology at the NKTS which employed a novel geomorphometric analysis technique to produce a high-resolution 5-meter geologic map of the site. This map helps refine the USGS reconnaissance geology map which was based on the analysis of ASTER spectral imagery data and extrapolations from nearby 1930s Japanese ground survey reporting at the Punggye-ri site. Our assessment provided the means to evaluate a number of geologic factors related to the testing at the Punggye-ri site, including the proximity of carbonate rocks to the test locations, the relationship between fracture rock and containment, and possible motivation for continued tunneling at the South Portal location.
- Cartography and Aerial Photography
- Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy
- Nuclear Warfare