Posted by: drgeophysics | August 5, 2012

Seismic detection of nuclear blasts with some infrasound resources

I have recently been reviewing pure seismology lately.  As part of this activity I’ve been covering the detection of nuclear tests and Geophysical MASINT related resources.   On a tangent I’ve also been fascinated by sound and recent advances into understanding infrasonic sound, especially with respect to sound propagation and detection.   Here are some resources and observations.

Tomorrow is Hiroshima day, I hope you think deeply about the event.

As stated in this wiki page: “Geophysical MASINT is a branch of Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) that involves phenomena transmitted through the earth (ground, water, atmosphere) and man made structures including emitted or reflected sounds, pressure waves, vibrations, and magnetic field or ionosphere disturbances

An excellent review of seismic detection of nuclear explosions can be found at this, and this, and this site.  The first two are PDFs, the third link is an html chapter from IRIS.  Detection of mines explosions in Asia using seismic data PDF can be found at this site.

Infrasound detection of mine explosions PDF can be found here.  BGS analysis of seismic data related to mine explosions can be found here.  Excellent work from MSU regarding northeastern Asia can be found here.

The DTRA verification database can be found at this location.

IASPEI Ground Truth (GT) reference events can be found here.

NORSAR Engineering Database (CTBT and Nuclear Test Monitoring) can be found here.

Autocorrelation methodology is presented briefly here.  Some NTS work is presented here by LLNL and UNV.

An infrasound database (searchable with location and time parameters) can be found at this site.  Infrasound related to animals and earthquake detection can be found here.  Some research related to psychological reactions of humans to infrasound can be found here.  The excellent Wiki review of the perception of infrasound can be found here.  Cornell University infrasound web site (their Elephant Listening Project) can be found here.

The youtube videos below show some shock waves related to volcanic explosions.   These would all produce significant infrasound.

Tomorrow is Hiroshima day and as usual I find myself meditating on this event.

As a younger man I talked to some people who had been involved in WWII in the Pacific.  One man who was a supervisor for my geophysical work decades ago had flown a transport plane into Japan with the United States negotiating team before the war ended.  He was just a young person from no-where USA and was an expert transport pilot.

After landing at the Japanese airfield (the war had not ended yet) he thought it would be fun to “hitchhike into town”.  He was soon surrounded by Japanese, fascinated by an American pilot standing free before them,  many of whom were pointing up and saying “You fly B-29?”.  He repeatedly said, hoping for the best in an increasingly dicey situation, “No I fly an air transport… carries food…medicine.”.   He quickly hastened back to the airfield and sat under the wing of his plane until the negotiating team returned.   After the war ended he spent time flying out POWs, from remote strips to hospitals.  The physical condition of these men, women and children, shocked and sickened him.  Many died on his plane during transport to hospitals.

He had flown in the war for so long at some point the bureaucracy decided he needed to be “certified” to fly  by taking a test.  He flew to Tokyo and was assigned a tester.  He was asked to fly out into Tokyo bay and fly his two engine transport aircraft lower, lower, lower, and lower.  When it seemed there was no more lower possible  the tester reached over and turned off the right engine and said “now fly back and land”.  That was the test.  He told me they were flying below the level of docked aircraft carrier flight decks.  Some test. I got to know him well and he was a tremendous mentor; I still recall things he said to me about many things.  He did not consider himself a hero, saying, as so many of the greatest generations have said to me, the heroes were the ones who never came back.

This is an exact copy of the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It is at the British War Museum in London.

Another man I knew, a physicist, had been on an observation B-29 when the Hiroshima bomb was dropped.  The details of this attack are shown in the youtube video below and are horrific.  This American physicist was responsible for monitoring instruments that were dropped by parachute around the Hiroshima site before the bomb was dropped.  Radio measurements were received by him as the instruments floated down.  In one of these instruments, which would float slowly down and then land intact on the ground,  he and his colleagues from Los Alamos had written, in English and Japanese, a note to a Japanese physicist they had known before the war had started.  This Japanese physicist had studied with several physicists working in the Los Alamos lab and was sometimes recalled in private conversations during the Manhattan project.  The note was a personal plea and stated that the Japanese had to press for immediate surrender and expressed their wish that this physicist make the strongest possible case to his colleagues.  They knew this man would be asked to report on what had happened and would be given the instruments to examine.  I have never read this account in any history book.

Within the first four months after the bombing, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima.


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