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EM-Pulses of Chemical Explosions


Investigation of Electromagnetic Signals Accompanying Underground Chemical Explosions

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-OTH/Other/Physics

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Horowicz L

Leading Institute
NIIIT (Pulse Techniques), Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Dynamics of the Geosphere, Russia, Moscow\nVNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, CA, Livermore

Project summary

The Project is aimed of the theoretical and experimental research of generation processes and parameters of the electromagnetic pulses (EMP) accompanying underground chemical explosions in order to verify compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Verification of compliance with the CTBT supposes establishing of an International Monitoring System, consultation and clarification, on-site inspections and confidence-building measures. In order to contribute to the timely resolution of any compliance concerns arising from possible misinterpretation of verification data relating to chemical explosions the efforts of EMP accompanying underground chemical explosions is of interest.

Presence of the electromagnetic signals from underground chemical explosions was repeatedly confirmed experimentally. Project participants from IDO recorded the electromagnetic signals on frequencies up to 10 Hz at explosions of chemical explosive with yield 2,6 kT at depth 24 m making at distance 2 km up to 2 kV/m. The IDG had a vast experimental data on measurements of EMP accompanying large industry chemical explosions in Russia. It is known the experimental data on low-frequency EMP from American industry explosions with yield up to several kilotons. Project participants from SRIPT recorded the electromagnetic signals from chemical explosions on frequency ranges up to 10 MHz. The RFNC-VNIITF experts had a large experience of carrying out the model explosion experiments with detection of the electromagnetic effects accompanying these explosions. But the mechanism of EMP generation at underground chemical explosions is investigated insufficiently completely; available theoretical and experimental researches do not permit to connect unequivocally EMP parameters to yields and depths of explosion and to isolate useful signals from background of EMP of thunderstorm activity and earthquakes as well.

The theoretical and experimental efforts of EMP generation mechanism for underground chemical explosions with allowance for perse physical processes attending these explosions are expected to be conducted under the Project. Physics-mathematical model for plasma and electrodynamics processes causing EMP while conducting explosions of the chemical explosives will be elaborated. Results of EMP measurements from large industrial underground chemical explosions will be analyzed and series of model experiments on overhead and underground explosions of different masses of chemical charges will be conducted. Recording of the electrical and magnetic fields in the air and ground will be conducted with the help of the perse methods in the wide frequency range and in the separate frequencies as well. Signals on the detonation circuits and the measuring cables as well as the changing of electroconductivity of the grounds and the explosion products under the influence of shock-wave load are expected to be measured. Obtained estimates of electrodynamics phenomena from underground chemical explosions will be compared with the experimental data. The attempt to connect EMP parameters to yield of underground chemical explosions and depth of carrying out them in various grounds will be undertaken. Comparison of obtained features of EMP from underground chemical explosions and parameters of interference signals while conducting thunderstorm activity and large earthquakes will make it possible to elaborate the methods of filtration and identification of useful signals.

The concrete results of this Project will consist in:

- evaluation of influence of detonating circuits on the parameters of generated EMP;
- evaluation of influence of measuring cables on parameters of EMP;
- evaluation of influence of explosive charge form on EMP parameters;
- evaluation of influence of air cavity around charges on EMP parameters;
- evaluation of influence of successive firing of explosive charges distributed in the space on the parameters of generated EMP.

From results of theoretical calculations and experimental data we hope to find out the dependence of EMP time-amplitude characteristics on yield and depth of explosion in various grounds. Using of a statistical data on EMP from lightning discharges and large earthquakes will make it possible to develop the filtration methods of signals from underground chemical explosions and the probabilistic characteristics of their detection and identification from interference background. Such efforts will enable to determine the principles of construction of the equipment for authentic recording of EMP from underground chemical explosions and can form the basis for development of methods of the International inspection on sites of conducting of explosions for the purpose of monitoring and verifying the CTBT.

The Project results can have scientific, applied and commercial' value; carrying out of the Project will be realized to the Russian institutes experts engaged in the sphere of elaboration and tests of nuclear weapon which corresponds to the conversional aims of the ISTC activity.

Potential role of the foreign collaborators

Foreign collaborators will participated in drawing out of the ISTC Agreement under the Project accepted to funding by ISTC and to receive whole scientific information prepared during its carrying out. Besides they will have an opportunity of representation of own experimental data on electromagnetic phenomena attending underground chemical explosions for processing on technique developed in this Project. The necessity of practical realization of such Project was repeatedly discussed on meetings of the Russian and American experts during 1995-1997 years. LANL and LLNL gave preliminary promises to collaborate with this Project. The efforts on monitoring of underground chemical explosions are carrying out in the European scientific centers as well; we send the letters with request for support of our Project Proposal to Prof. Hans-Peter Harjes, Ruhar-Universitat, Bochum Institute fur Geophisik, Federal Republic of Germany, to Ph. Dr. Lars-Eric De Geer, National Defense Research Establishment Department of NBC Defense, Division of Nuclear Weapon Physics, Nuclear Detection Group, Stockholm, Sweden, and to Prof. Eystein. S. Husebye, University of Bergen, Institute for Solid Earth Physics, Bergen, Norway.


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