Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 170, Issue 3, pp 473–478 | Cite as

Comment on Underwater Explosion (UWE) Analysis of the ROKS Cheonan Incident by S.G. Kim and Y. Kitterman

  • Kwang Sup KimEmail author


The analysis of the seismic and infrasound data recorded at the time of the Cheonan incident led Kim and Gitterman (this journal, published on line August 2012) to conclude that a non-contact underwater explosion had sunk the ship. They also concluded that one of the mines deployed by the South Korean Navy many years ago in the area and then abandoned sank the ship. Their mine theory that is based on the explosive charge weights they calculated by means of two methods using the bubble period determined by their analysis, however, appears to be invalid. Although the incident had occurred in a shallow sea with a depth of less than 50m, the authors used the methods that are applicable only to free-field underwater explosions. The consideration of the influence on the bubble period of the nearby sea surface and bottom and the nearby ship’s hull would double the calculated weights. In addition, the authors ignored several evidences that support the torpedo theory. One of them is aluminum-containing white powder found in large quantities at certain substrates in the retrieved Cheonan. However, the conclusion of the official investigation group that the torpedo was made in North Korea is based on a circumstantial evidence and is yet to be proven with other more direct evidences.


Cheonan sinking underwater explosion bubble pulsation period explosive charge weight mine torpedo 


  1. Cole, R. H., Underwater explosions, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 1948).Google Scholar
  2. Geers, T. L., and Hunter, K. S. (2002), An integrated wave-effects model for an underwater explosion bubble, J. Acoust. Soc. AM 111, 1584.Google Scholar
  3. Jig (Multinational Civilian-Military Joint Investigation Group) (2010), Final report: on the attack against ROKS Cheonan, Ministry of National Defense, ROK,
  4. Kim, K. S. (2010a), Adsorbates: TGA/DTA evidence for gelatinous/hydrated/amorphous Al(OH) 3 and AlO(OH),
  5. Kim, K. S. (2010b), Adsorption of sulfate ions in seawater on adsorbates,
  6. Kim, K. S. (2010c), Can the adsorbates be really amorphous aluminum oxide?,
  7. K. S. Kim (2010d), Was the JIG’s UNDEX experimental data really fabricated? (Adsorbate: accelerated adsorption and incorporation of sulfate ions),
  8. Kim, K. S. (2011), Unfinished investigation of the Cheonan incident,
  9. Kim, K. S. (2013) Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics modeling of underwater explosion of Al/TNT explosives, to be published.Google Scholar
  10. Kim, S. G. (2012), Personal communication.Google Scholar
  11. Kim, S. G., and Gitterman, Y. (2012), Underwater explosion (UWE) analysis of the ROKS Cheonan incident, Pure Appl. Geophys., published online, 10 August 2012.Google Scholar
  12. Klaseboer, E., Cho, B. C., and Hung, K. C. (2005), Dynamics of an oscillating bubble near a floating structure, J. of Fluids and Structure, 21, 395–412.Google Scholar
  13. Matsumoto, K. (1996), Boundary curvature effects on gas bubble oscillations in underwater explosion, M. S. thesis, U.S. Pos Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.Google Scholar
  14. Mnd (Ministry of National Defense, ROK) (2011), White paper on the investigation of the Cheonan incident,
  15. Phillips, D. E., and Willey, R. L. (1967), Underwater explosion tests of two steam producing explosives II. 50- and 300-lb charge tests, NOLTR 67–7, U. S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, White Oak, Silver Spring, MD.Google Scholar
  16. Swisdak, M. M. (1978), Explosion effects and properties: part II—explosion effects in water, NSWC/WOL/TR 76–116, Naval Surface Weapons Center, Dahlgren, VA.Google Scholar
  17. Vadhe, P. P., Pawar, R. B., Sinha, R. K., Asthana, S. N., and Rao, A. S. (2008), Cast aluminized explosives (review), combustion, explosion, and shock waves, 44, 461.Google Scholar
  18. Wardraw, A.B., Jr., and Mair, H.U. (1998), Spherical solutions of an underwater explosion bubble, shock and vibration, 5, 89.Google Scholar
  19. Zhang, A., Yao, X., and Li, J. (2008), Characteristics of a bubble jet near a vertical wall, J. Marine Sci. Appl., 7, 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KSK AssociateAndoverUSA

Personalised recommendations