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ASU Russian Club Sponsors Presentation

October 30, 2013

 

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Following the creation, use, and development of nuclear weapons, it became clear to the nations testing their new capabilities that some limitations on the manner in which testing was conducted should be constrained.  This desire led to the creation of a number of Nuclear Test Treaties, culminating in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  While nuclear test treaty limitations can be developed in a straightforward manner, validation and verification of compliance with the treaty terms amongst signatory nations is required. 

Seismology is one of the tools used for remote sensing of the signals generated by nuclear explosions.  The wavefields generated by anthropogenic seismic sources such as nuclear and chemical explosions have characteristics that allow them to be discriminated from natural seismic sources like earthquakes, volcanic tremor, and meteorite impact.  Forensic seismology as applied to nuclear treaty monitoring is aimed at detection and characterization of nuclear test conducted in many of Earth’s environments.  

We will discuss my experiences in conducting forensic seismology experiments in the Former Soviet Union at the Semipalitinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan.  These experiments allowed me to learn about the differences and similarities of both the scientific approach to nuclear test monitoring and the cultural differences I encountered.