Cavities Produced by Underground Nuclear Explosions

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Butkovich, T.R.
Nuclear explosion , Cavity formation
This investigation studied the displacement of rock that formerly occupied cavities produced by underground nuclear explosions. There are three possible explanations for this displacement: the volume could be displaced to the free surface; it could be occupy previously air-filled pores removed from the surrounding rock through compaction; or it could be accounted for by persisting compressive stresses induced by the outgoing shock wave. The analysis shows it unlikely that stored residual elastic stresses account for large fractions of cavity volumes. There is limited experimental evidence that free surface displacement account for a significant portion of this volume. Whenever the explosion mediums contain air-filled pores, the compaction of these pores most likely accounts for all the volume. Calculations show that 4% air-filled porosity can account for all the cavity radii and that even 1% can account for a significant fraction of the volume.
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