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Published October 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Surface Wave Magnitude for the 9 October 2006 North Korean Nuclear Explosion


Surface waves were generated by the North Korean nuclear explosion of 9 October 2006 and were recorded at epicentral distances up to 34°, from which we estimated a surface wave magnitude (M_s) of 2.94 with an interstation standard deviation of 0.17 magnitude units. The International Data Center estimated a body-wave magnitude (m_b) of 4.1. This is the only explosion we have analyzed that was not easily screened as an explosion based on the differences between the M_s and m_b estimates. Additionally, this M_s predicts a yield, based on empirical M_s/yield relationships, that is almost an order of magnitude larger than the 0.5–1 kt reported for this explosion. We investigate how emplacement medium effects on surface wave moment and magnitude may have contributed to the yield discrepancy.

Additional Information

© 2008 Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 6 February 2008. We wish to thank Ana Stroujkova and Delaine Reiter for help acquiring some of these waveform data. Also, we have had helpful discussions with Mark Woods, Leigh House, Keith Koper, Jeff Stevens, Neil Selby, David Bowers, and Kevin Mayeda regarding manuscript preparation and the interpretation of these results. This research was sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Nonproliferation Research and Development and by the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation under Contract Number DE-AC52-04NA25547. This work was also performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) under Contract Number DE-AC52-07NA27344. This is LLNL Contribution Number LLNL-JRNL-402269.

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