Ionospheric observations of underground nuclear explosions (UNE) using GPS and the Very Large Array

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Abstract

[1] Observations from Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope recorded traveling ionospheric disturbances (TID) from underground nuclear explosions (UNEs), detonated in September 1992. The slant TEC (STEC) data derived from GPS observations were processed for all ray paths to isolate TIDs. For the TIDs from the Hunters Trophy test on 18 September 1992 and the Divider test on 23 September 1992, the propagated mean velocities of the TIDs were about 573 m/s and 740 m/s with standard deviations of 85 m/s and 135 m/s, respectively. For the VLA observations, the spectral analysis produced three-dimensional fluctuation spectral cubes for the Hunters Trophy event. The arrival time of the TID at the VLA implied a propagation speed of 570–710 m/s. This study suggests the global availability of GNSS tracking networks and new low-frequency (VHF) radio telescopes may offer a method of UNE detection and characterization, which could complement the International Monitoring System (IMS).

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