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Explosion-produced ground motion: technical summary with respect to seismic hazards

Abstract

This paper summarizes the present technical knowledge, experimental and theoretical, of how underground nuclear explosions produce seismic motion that may be a hazard at distances measured in tens of kilometers. The effects of explosion yield and rock properties (at the explosion, along the signal propagation path, and at the site where a hazard may exist) on the ground motion are described in detail, and some consideration is given to the relation between ground motion and damage criteria. The energy released in a nuclear explosion is sufficient to vaporize the explosive and to generate an intense shock wave that is propagated outward into the surrounding rock. Part of the energy transported by the shock wave is dissipated in the shocked material. The shock wave strength decreases with distance from the center of the explosion as a consequence of this energy loss and because of geometric (approximately spherical) divergence. The dissipated energy fraction ranges from over 95% (for competent rocks like granite) to over 99% (for crushable, porous rocks like alluvium) of the explosion yield. Therefore, the energy fraction that is radiated in the form of seismic waves ranges from a few percent down to a few tenths of a percent. This  More>>
Authors:
Rodean, Howard C [1] 
  1. Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, University of California, Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
May 15, 1970
Product Type:
Conference
Report Number:
CONF-700101(vol.2); INIS-XA-N-229
Resource Relation:
Conference: Symposium on engineering with nuclear explosives, Las Vegas, NV (United States), 14-16 Jan 1970; Other Information: 67 refs, 20 figs; Related Information: In: Symposium on engineering with nuclear explosives. Proceedings. Volume 2, 935 pages.
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; ENERGY TRANSFER; EXPERIMENTAL DATA; NUCLEAR EXCAVATION; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; ROCKS; SEISMIC EFFECTS; SEISMIC P WAVES; SEISMIC S WAVES; SEISMIC SURFACE WAVES; SHOCK WAVES; WAVE PROPAGATION
OSTI ID:
20768817
Research Organizations:
American Nuclear Society, Hindsdale, IL (United States); United States Atomic Energy Commission (United States)
Country of Origin:
IAEA
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
TRN: XA04N0884075284
Availability:
Available from INIS in electronic form
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
page(s) 1024-1050
Announcement Date:
Sep 23, 2006

Citation Formats

Rodean, Howard C. Explosion-produced ground motion: technical summary with respect to seismic hazards. IAEA: N. p., 1970. Web.
Rodean, Howard C. Explosion-produced ground motion: technical summary with respect to seismic hazards. IAEA.
Rodean, Howard C. 1970. "Explosion-produced ground motion: technical summary with respect to seismic hazards." IAEA.
@misc{etde_20768817,
title = {Explosion-produced ground motion: technical summary with respect to seismic hazards}
author = {Rodean, Howard C}
abstractNote = {This paper summarizes the present technical knowledge, experimental and theoretical, of how underground nuclear explosions produce seismic motion that may be a hazard at distances measured in tens of kilometers. The effects of explosion yield and rock properties (at the explosion, along the signal propagation path, and at the site where a hazard may exist) on the ground motion are described in detail, and some consideration is given to the relation between ground motion and damage criteria. The energy released in a nuclear explosion is sufficient to vaporize the explosive and to generate an intense shock wave that is propagated outward into the surrounding rock. Part of the energy transported by the shock wave is dissipated in the shocked material. The shock wave strength decreases with distance from the center of the explosion as a consequence of this energy loss and because of geometric (approximately spherical) divergence. The dissipated energy fraction ranges from over 95% (for competent rocks like granite) to over 99% (for crushable, porous rocks like alluvium) of the explosion yield. Therefore, the energy fraction that is radiated in the form of seismic waves ranges from a few percent down to a few tenths of a percent. This is consistent with the observation that explosions in granite produce more severe ground motion than corresponding explosions in alluvium. The effects of explosion yield and rock properties on the frequency spectrum of the seismic source function are demonstrated by both experimental measurements and theoretical analysis. The characteristics of an ideal elastic medium are such that its frequency response is that of a low-pass filter, with its cutoff frequency being a function of the elastic properties of the material and the radius at which the explosion-produced stress wave becomes elastic. There is further frequency- and distance-dependent attenuation (especially of the higher frequencies) of the seismic waves, because rocks are not perfectly elastic but anelastic. If an underground explosion is spherical and the surrounding medium is homogeneous and isotropic, only compressional or P waves are generated. This is an idealization; both P and shear or S waves are produced, with P waves being predominant. The interaction of these waves with the inhomogeneities within the earth and the free surface of the earth produce additional reflected and refracted P and S waves, plus Rayleigh (or R) and Love (or L) waves that travel along the surface. As a consequence, the surface ground motion at a location where seismic damage is of concern is a complex mixture of several types of waves: some are generated in the vicinity of the explosion, and others at various points along different propagation paths. They arrive at different times because of different propagation velocities and transmission paths. In addition, the surface or receiver response to these waves is a function of local geology; e. g., the least severe motion occurs on hard rock. The problem of seismic motion pertinent to property damage is therefore very complicated because the damage-producing part of the wave train does not appear to be the first arrival but some subsequent portion. There may be some valid correlations between damage (i.e., architectural like cracked plaster as well as structural) and measured values of frequency-dependent displacement, velocity, and acceleration; but it is not known which waves are associated with these measurements. Therefore, the prediction of ground motion for seismic damage assessment is, at present, based on extrapolation of past experience and not upon calculations from the first principles of mechanics. This does not mean that these calculations are not of value in damage prediction. However, correlation between theoretical calculations and experimental measurements of ground motion will probably be on a statistical basis because it generally will be impractical to determine all pertinent details of the geology from the explosion to sites where seismic damage may be of concern. (author)}
place = {IAEA}
year = {1970}
month = {May}
}