ABSTRACT

The complex postdetonation geologic structures that form after an underground nuclear explosion are hard to constrain because increased heterogeneity around the damage zone affects seismic waves that propagate through the explosion site. Generally, a vertical rubble‐filled structure known as a chimney is formed after an underground nuclear explosion that is composed of debris that falls into the subsurface cavity generated by the explosion. Compared with chimneys that collapse fully, leaving a surface crater, partially collapsed chimneys can have remnant subsurface cavities left in place above collapsed rubble. The 1964 nuclear test HADDOCK, conducted at the Nevada test site (now the Nevada National Security Site), formed a partially collapsed chimney with no surface crater. Understanding the subsurface structure of these features has significant national security applications, such as aiding the study of suspected underground nuclear explosions under a treaty verification. In this study, we investigated the subsurface architecture of the HADDOCK legacy nuclear test using hybrid 2D–3D active source seismic reflection and refraction data. The seismic data were acquired using 275 survey shots from the Seismic Hammer (a 13,000 kg weight drop) and 65 survey shots from a smaller accelerated weight drop, both recorded by 1000 three‐component 5 Hz geophones. First‐arrival, P‐wave tomographic modeling shows a low‐velocity anomaly at 200  m depth, likely an air‐filled cavity caused by partial collapse of the rock column into the temporary postdetonation cavity. A high‐velocity anomaly between 20 and 60 m depth represents spall‐related compaction of the shallow alluvium. Hints of low velocities are also present near the burial depth (364  m). The reflection seismic data show a prominent subhorizontal reflector at 300  m depth, a short‐curved reflector at 200  m, and a high‐amplitude reflector at 50  m depth. Comparisons of the reflection sections to synthetic data and borehole stratigraphy suggest that these features correspond to the alluvium–tuff contact, the partial collapse cavity, and the spalled layer, respectively.

You do not currently have access to this article.