Near-source audiovisual, hydroacoustic, and seismic observations of Dead Sea underwater explosions


Results of a study of hydroacoustic, acoustic, and seismic effects from a series of three large-scale chemical explosions of 0.5, 2, and 5 tons, conducted in November, 1999 in the Dead Sea, are presented. The shots were detonated at a water depth of 70 m (485 m below the ocean level). The main objective of the experiment was calibration of seismic stations of the International Monitoring System in the Middle East, using accurate travel times and source phenomenology features of underwater explosions. The largest shot provided magnitude about 4 and was recorded at distances up to 3500 km. Near-source seismic and hydroacoustic observations obtained were utilized to estimate source parameters of the conducted explosions. Based on the curve-fit equation of the time-pressure measurements, the direct shock wave energy was estimated as 30.8% of the total explosive energy. The TNT equivalent to the 5000 kg charge of the explosive used (Chenamon) was determined as 4010 kg, corresponding to the manufacturer’s estimate of the Chenamon energy as ≈80% TNT.

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Correspondence to Y. Gitterman.

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Translated from Fizika Goreniya i Vzryva, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 124–136, March–April, 2009.

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Gitterman, Y. Near-source audiovisual, hydroacoustic, and seismic observations of Dead Sea underwater explosions. Combust Explos Shock Waves 45, 218–229 (2009).

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Key words

  • underwater explosion
  • hydroacoustics
  • seismic waves
  • shock wave