Friday, October 13, 2006

North Korea seismology blog roundup

First of all, the blog round-up from around the geologic community:

Highly Allochthonous, Green Gabbro, and Western Geologist all have examples of seismographs and discussions of what they mean. Since geochemistry is about as far from seismology as one can get, I recommend reading them, not me.

Some arms control sites, such as this guy, have suggested that the test might be a dud or a fake, as so far no escaped radioactive material has been detected. Specifically, the issue of whether or not the test could have been faked tweaked my curiosity. Assuming a safe containment system, is there any way to tell whether a nuclear explosion actually occurred?

Obviously, the whole point of testing underground is to contain all the fission products and radiation generated by the blast. This generally works pretty well; the carbon 14 curve shows that after the cessation of atmospheric testing in the 60’s, the amount of anthropogenic 14C in the atmosphere began to decline sharply. So, if the alpha, beta, gamma, and neutrons from the test are all contained, is there anything else that might get out?

To be continued...

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