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Title: Seismic source functions from free-field ground motions recorded on SPE: Implications for source models of small, shallow explosions

In this, reduced displacement potentials (RDPs) for chemical explosions of the Source Physics Experiments (SPE) in granite at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site are estimated from free-field ground motion recordings. Far-field P wave source functions are proportional to the time derivative of RDPs. Frequency domain comparisons between measured source functions and model predictions show that high-frequency amplitudes roll off as ω -2, but models fail to predict the observed seismic moment, corner frequency, and spectral overshoot. All three features are fit satisfactorily for the SPE-2 test after cavity radius Rc is reduced by 12%, elastic radius is reduced by 58%, and peak-to-static pressure ratio on the elastic radius is increased by 100%, all with respect to the Mueller-Murphy model modified with the Denny-Johnson Rc scaling law. A large discrepancy is found between the cavity volume inferred from RDPs and the volume estimated from laser scans of the emplacement hole. The measurements imply a scaled Rc of ~5 m/kt 1/3, more than a factor of 2 smaller than nuclear explosions. Less than 25% of the seismic moment can be attributed to cavity formation. A breakdown of the incompressibility assumption due to shear dilatancy of the source medium around the cavity ismore » the likely explanation. New formulas are developed for volume changes due to medium bulking (or compaction). A 0.04% decrease of average density inside the elastic radius accounts for the missing volumetric moment. Assuming incompressibility, established Rc scaling laws predicted the moment reasonable well, but it was only fortuitous because dilation of the source medium compensated for the small cavity volume.« less
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; AC52‐06NA25946
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
Contributing Orgs:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; 58 GEOSCIENCES; chemical explosions; seismic source functions; source models
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1402187