pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 158, Issue 11, pp 1869–1908

Effects of Rock Damage on Seismic Waves Generated by Explosions

  • L. R. Johnson
  • C. G. Sammis

DOI: 10.1007/PL00001136

Cite this article as:
Johnson, L. & Sammis, C. Pure appl. geophys. (2001) 158: 1869. doi:10.1007/PL00001136


 — In studying the physical processes involved in the generation of seismic waves by explosions, it is important to understand what happens in the region of high stresses immediately surrounding the explosion. This paper examines one of the processes that takes place in this region, the growth of pre-existing cracks, which is described quantitatively as an increase in rock damage. An equivalent elastic method is used to approximate the stress field surrounding the explosion and a micro-mechanical model of damage is used to calculate the increase in damage. Simulations for a 1 kt explosion reveal that the region of increased damage can be quite large, up to ten times the cavity radius. The damage is initiated on a damage front that propagates outward behind the explosive stress wave with a velocity intermediate between that of P and S waves. Calculations suggest that the amount of increased damage is controlled primarily by the initial damage and the extent of the region of increased damage is controlled primarily by the initial crack radius. The motions that occur on individual cracks when damage increases are converted to seismic moment tensors which are then used to calculate secondary elastic waves which radiate into the far field. It is found that, while the contribution from an individual crack is small, the combined effect of many cracks in a large region of increased damage can generate secondary waves that are comparable in amplitude to the primary waves generated by the explosion. Provided that there is asymmetry in the damage pattern, this process is quite effective in generating S waves, thus providing a quantitative explanation of how S waves can be generated by an explosion. Two types of asymmetry are investigated, a shear pre-stress and a preferred orientation of cracks, and it is found that both produce similar effects.

Key words: Elastic waves, explosions, cracks, rock damage.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. R. Johnson
    • 1
  • C. G. Sammis
    • 2
  1. 1.Seismological Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. E-mail: lane@seismo.berkeley.eduUS
  2. 2.Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740, USA.US