Nonlinear wave fronts and ionospheric irregularities observed by HF sounding over a powerful acoustic source


  • Elisabeth Blanc,

  • Dwight Rickel


Different wave fronts affected by significant nonlinearities have been observed in the ionosphere by a pulsed HF sounding experiment at a distance of 38 km from the source point of a 4800-kg ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (ANFO) explosion on the ground. These wave fronts are revealed by partial reflections of the radio sounding waves. A small-scale irregular structure has been generated by a first wave front at the level of a sporadic E layer which characterized the ionosphere at the time of the experiment. The time scale of these fluctuations is about 1 to 2 s; its lifetime is about 2 min. Similar irregularities were also observed at the level of a second wave front in the F region. This structure appears also as diffusion on a continuous wave sounding at horizontal distances of the order of 200 km from the source. In contrast, a third front unaffected by irregularities may originate from the lowest layers of the ionosphere or from a supersonic wave front propagating at the base of the thermosphere. The origin of these structures is discussed.