Final Report: Detection and Characterization of Underground Facilities by Stochastic Inversion and Modeling of Data from the New Generation of Synthetic Aperture Satellites

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Many clandestine development and production activities can be conducted underground to evade surveillance. The purpose of the study reported here was to develop a technique to detect underground facilities by broad-area search and then to characterize the facilities by inversion of the collected data. This would enable constraints to be placed on the types of activities that would be feasible at each underground site, providing a basis the design of targeted surveillance and analysis for more complete characterization. Excavation of underground cavities causes deformation in the host material and overburden that produces displacements at the ground surface. Such displacements are ... continued below

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PDF-file: 75 pages; size: 18.8 Mbytes

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Foxall, W; Cunningham, C; Mellors, R; Templeton, D; Dyer, K & White, J February 27, 2012.

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Description

Many clandestine development and production activities can be conducted underground to evade surveillance. The purpose of the study reported here was to develop a technique to detect underground facilities by broad-area search and then to characterize the facilities by inversion of the collected data. This would enable constraints to be placed on the types of activities that would be feasible at each underground site, providing a basis the design of targeted surveillance and analysis for more complete characterization. Excavation of underground cavities causes deformation in the host material and overburden that produces displacements at the ground surface. Such displacements are often measurable by a variety of surveying or geodetic techniques. One measurement technique, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), uses data from satellite-borne (or airborne) synthetic aperture radars (SARs) and so is ideal for detecting and measuring surface displacements in denied access regions. Depending on the radar frequency and the acquisition mode and the surface conditions, displacement maps derived from SAR interferograms can provide millimeter- to centimeter-level measurement accuracy on regional and local scales at spatial resolution of {approx}1-10 m. Relatively low-resolution ({approx}20 m, say) maps covering large regions can be used for broad-area detection, while finer resolutions ({approx}1 m) can be used to image details of displacement fields over targeted small areas. Surface displacements are generally expected to be largest during or a relatively short time after active excavation, but, depending on the material properties, measurable displacement may continue at a decreasing rate for a considerable time after completion. For a given excavated volume in a given geological setting, the amplitude of the surface displacements decreases as the depth of excavation increases, while the area of the discernable displacement pattern increases. Therefore, the ability to detect evidence for an underground facility using InSAR depends on the displacement sensitivity and spatial resolution of the interferogram, as well as on the size and depth of the facility and the time since its completion. The methodology development described in this report focuses on the exploitation of synthetic aperture radar data that are available commercially from a number of satellite missions. Development of the method involves three components: (1) Evaluation of the capability of InSAR to detect and characterize underground facilities ; (2) inversion of InSAR data to infer the location, depth, shape and volume of a subsurface facility; and (3) evaluation and selection of suitable geomechanical forward models to use in the inversion. We adapted LLNL's general-purpose Bayesian Markov Chain-Monte Carlo procedure, the 'Stochastic Engine' (SE), to carry out inversions to characterize subsurface void geometries. The SE performs forward simulations for a large number of trial source models to identify the set of models that are consistent with the observations and prior constraints. The inverse solution produced by this kind of stochastic method is a posterior probability density function (pdf) over alternative models, which forms an appropriate input to risk-based decision analyses to evaluate subsequent response strategies. One major advantage of a stochastic inversion approach is its ability to deal with complex, non-linear forward models employing empirical, analytical or numerical methods. However, while a geomechanical model must incorporate adequate physics to enable sufficiently accurate prediction of surface displacements, it must also be computationally fast enough to render the large number of forward realizations needed in stochastic inversion feasible. This latter requirement prompted us first to investigate computationally efficient empirical relations and closed-form analytical solutions. However, our evaluation revealed severe limitations in the ability of existing empirical and analytical forms to predict deformations from underground cavities with an accuracy consistent with the potential resolution and precision of InSAR data. We followed two approaches to overcoming these limitations. The first was to develop a new analytical solution for a 3D cavity excavated in an elastic half-space. The second was to adapt a fast parallelized finite element method to the SE and evaluate the feasibility of using in the stochastic inversion. To date we have demonstrated the ability of InSAR to detect underground facilities and measure the associated surface displacements by mapping surface deformations that track the excavation of the Los Angeles Metro system. The Stochastic Engine implementation has been completed and undergone functional testing.

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PDF-file: 75 pages; size: 18.8 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: LLNL-TR-534132
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/1036847 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1036847
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc832438

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  • February 27, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 8:02 p.m.

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Foxall, W; Cunningham, C; Mellors, R; Templeton, D; Dyer, K & White, J. Final Report: Detection and Characterization of Underground Facilities by Stochastic Inversion and Modeling of Data from the New Generation of Synthetic Aperture Satellites, report, February 27, 2012; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc832438/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.