Low Frequency Electromagnetic Pulse and Explosions

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This paper reviews and summarizes prior work related to low frequency (< 100 Hz) EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) observed from explosions. It focuses on how EMP signals might, or might not, be useful in monitoring underground nuclear tests, based on the limits of detection, and physical understanding of these signals. In summary: (1) Both chemical and nuclear explosions produce an EMP. (2) The amplitude of the EMP from underground explosions is at least two orders of magnitude lower than from above ground explosions and higher frequency components of the signal are rapidly attenuated due to ground conductivity. (3) In general, in ... continued below

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Sweeney, J J February 1, 2011.

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Description

This paper reviews and summarizes prior work related to low frequency (< 100 Hz) EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) observed from explosions. It focuses on how EMP signals might, or might not, be useful in monitoring underground nuclear tests, based on the limits of detection, and physical understanding of these signals. In summary: (1) Both chemical and nuclear explosions produce an EMP. (2) The amplitude of the EMP from underground explosions is at least two orders of magnitude lower than from above ground explosions and higher frequency components of the signal are rapidly attenuated due to ground conductivity. (3) In general, in the near field, that is distances (r) of less than 10s of kilometers from the source, the amplitude of the EMP decays approximately as 1/r{sup 3}, which practically limits EMP applications to very close (<{approx}1km) distances. (4) One computational model suggests that the EMP from a decoupled nuclear explosion may be enhanced over the fully coupled case. This has not been validated with laboratory or field data. (5) The magnitude of the EMP from an underground nuclear explosion is about two orders of magnitude larger than that from a chemical explosion, and has a larger component of higher frequencies. In principle these differences might be used to discriminate a nuclear from a chemical explosion using sensors at very close (<{approx}1 km) distances. (6) Arming and firing systems (e.g. detonators, exploding bridge wires) can also produce an EMP from any type of explosion. (7) To develop the understanding needed to apply low frequency EMP to nuclear explosion monitoring, it is recommended to carry out a series of controlled underground chemical explosions with a variety of sizes, emplacements (e.g. fully coupled and decoupled), and arming and firing systems.

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PDF-file: 9 pages; size: 98.9 Kbytes

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  • Report No.: LLNL-TR-471856
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/1030215 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1030215
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc829310

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • February 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 12:39 p.m.

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Sweeney, J J. Low Frequency Electromagnetic Pulse and Explosions, report, February 1, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc829310/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.