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Published August 2001 | Published
Journal Article Open

Kursk Explosion


On 12 August 2000 two explosions damaged the Russian submarine, the Kursk. The largest event was well recorded at seismic networks in northern Europe, which we then modeled. We developed a hybrid method based on generalized ray theory that treats an explosive source embedded in a fluid and recorded along continental paths. Matching record sections of observations with synthetics, we obtain an estimate of explosive size of slightly over 4 t. Several earth models determined previously, K8 and a Baltic model, were used to assess accuracy. These results are in general agreement with other investigators using more empirical methods. Knowing the conventional missile yield and the explosion size allows for an estimate of approximately five missiles exploded in the second larger explosion onboard the Kursk.

Additional Information

© 2001 by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 12 December 2000. We would like to thank Brad Woods, Hong-Kie Thio, Chandan Saikia, Jascha Polet, and two anonymous reviewers for their reviews, Ralph Alewine for his suggestion to attempt this work numerically, Terry Wallace and Keith Koper for their discussions and data from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and finally Hans Israelsson and Ulf Baadshaug for waveform data. This research was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency under Contract DSWA01-98-1-0010. This is Contribution No. 8745, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

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August 19, 2023
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