ABSTRACT

The 2017 North Korean nuclear test gave rise to seismic and low‐frequency acoustic signals, that is, infrasound. The infrasonic signals are due to seismo‐acoustic coupling and have been detected on microbarometer array I45RU in the Russian Federation at 401 km from the test site. I45RU is part of the International Monitoring System for the verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear‐Test‐Ban Treaty. We analyze the seismo‐acoustic coupling by making use of array‐processing and backprojection techniques. The backprojections show that infrasound radiation is not confined to the epicentral region. More distant regions are found to be consistent with locations of topography, sedimentary basins, and underwater evanescent sources. The backprojections can be used to estimate the average infrasonic propagation speed through the atmosphere. We discuss these findings in the context of infrasound propagation conditions during the sixth nuclear test. It is suggested that propagation from the test site to I45RU may have occurred along unexpected paths instead of typical stratospheric propagation. We present several scenarios that could be considered in the interpretation of the observations.

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