Abstract

A comparative analysis of two closely spaced Nevada Test Site explosions, PERA and QUESO, is made to study the effects of near-source phenomena on regional-wave excitation. Although the two explosions were of similar size, burial depth, and only separated by 4 km, the 1 to 2 and 6 to 8 Hz regional-wave spectral ratio for QUESO is anomalously low (a factor of 10 smaller than that of PERA). Examination of the regional and close-in spectra for each event shows a remarkable similarity and suggests that QUESO has less low-frequency and more high-frequency energy than PERA. These observations may be caused by a 564 m3, funnel-shaped region filled with unconsolidated sand and a possible void directly above the QUESO detonation point. Close-in observations suggest that this region may have partially decoupled the up-going energy from QUESO, resulting in a reduction of the low-frequency energy. The high-frequency enhancement for QUESO may be due to the rapid loss of energy to nonlinear effects such as greater pore collapse and fracturing in the anomalous region. This resulted in the radiation of more impulsive, shorter-duration waveforms producing a higher corner frequency and less-rapid high-frequency spectral decay for QUESO. For PERA, the loss of energy to a two-wave system occurred more slowly and over a larger volume, resulting in a broader source pulse typical of explosions in porous materials. Comparison of shock radius versus time data suggests that the shock wave was strongly affected in the anomalous zone a few meters above the QUESO device. One-dimensional finite-difference calculations with and without a partial decoupling region within 8 m of the device are consistent with the observations. Although spallation was reduced for QUESO, simulations using a finite spall model indicate that the spall spectral peak should be centered at about 3 to 7 Hz and probably did not significantly contribute to the reduced spectral ratio. The remarkable similarity of the PERA/QUESO spectral ratios taken at distances of 90 m and 400 km suggests that the spectral characteristics of explosions are established in close proximity to the source. Although depth-dependent effects of attenuation acting at small strains may enhance the differences in spectral ratios between NTS explosions and western U.S. earthquakes, these effects are probably secondary to the high-pressure, high strain-rate dynamic material response to the radiated explosion shock wave. These observations point out the importance of up-going energy on the generation of regional phases from explosions. Because of reduced overburden pressures above the detonation point, large nonlinear deformations predominate in this region and appear to affect all of the signals except perhaps the very initial part of the Pn waveform.

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