Signal processing for Indian and Pakistan nuclear tests recorded at IMS stations located in Israel

Yefim Gitterman, Vladimir Pinsky, Rami Hofstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) the International Monitoring System (IMS) was designed for detection and location of the clandestine Nuclear Tests (NT). Two auxiliary IMS seismic stations MRNI and EIL, deployed recently, were subjected to detectability, travel-time calibration and discrimination analysis. The study is based on the three recent 1998 underground nuclear explosions: one of India and two of Pakistan, which provided a ground-truth test of the existing IMS. These events, attaining magnitudes of 5.2, 4.8 and 4.6 correspondingly, were registered by many IMS and other seismic stations. The MRNI and EIL broadband (BB) stations are located in Israel at teleseismic distances (from the explosions) of 3600, 2800 and 2700 km, respectively, where the signals from the tests are already weak. The Indian and the second Pakistan NT were not detected by the short-period Israel Seismic Network (ISN), using standard STA/LTA triggering. Therefore, for the chosen IMS stations we compare the STA/LTA response to the results of the more sensitive Murdock-Hutt (MH) and the Adaptive Statistically Optimal Detector (OD) that showed triggering for these three events. The second Pakistan NT signal arrived at the ISN and the IMS stations in the coda of a strong Afghanistan earthquake and was further disturbed by a preceding signal from a local earthquake. However, the NT signal was successfully extracted at EIL and MRNI stations using MH and OD procedures. For comparison we provide the signal analysis of the cooperating BB station JER, with considerably worse noise conditions than EIL and MRNI, and show that OD can detect events when the other algorithms fail. Using the most quiet EIL station, the most sensitive OD and different bandpass filters we tried in addition to detect the small Kazakh chemical 100-ton calibration explosion of 1998, with magnitude 3.7 at a distance approaching 4000 km. The detector response curve showed uprising in the expected signal time interval, but yet was low for a reliable decision. After an NT is detected it should be recognized. Spectra were calculated in a 15-sec window including P and P-coda waves. The spectra for the first Pakistan NT showed a pronounced spectral null at 1.7 Hz for all three components of the EIL station. The effect was confirmed by observation of the same spectral null at the vertical component of the ISN stations. For this ground-truth explosion with a reported shallow source depth, the phenomenon can be explained in terms of the interference of P and pP phases. However, the spectral null feature, considered separately, cannot serve as a reliable identification characteristic of nuclear explosions, because not all the tests provide the null, whereas some earthquakes show this feature. Therefore, the multi-channel spectral discrimination analysis, based on a spectral ratio of low-to-high frequency energy (in the 0.6-1 Hz and 1-3 Hz bands), and a semblance of spectral curves (in the 0.6-2 Hz band), was conducted. Both statistics were calculated for the vertical component of the ISN stations as well for the three components of the EIL station. The statistics provided a reliable discrimination between the recent NT and several nearby earthquakes, and showed compliance with the former analysis of Soviet and Chinese NT, where nuclear tests demonstrated lower values of energy ratio and spectral semblance than earthquakes. Accurate location of NT requires calibration of travel for IMS stations. Using known source locations. 1ASPE191 travel-time tables and NEIC origin times we calculated expected arrival time for the P waves to the EIL and MRNI stations and showed that the measured arrival time has adelay of about 4 sec. Similar results were obtained for the nearby Pakistan earthquakes. The analysis was complimented by the P travel-time measurements for the set of Semipalanstink NT, which showed delays of about 3.7 sec. to the short-period MBH station which is a surrogate station for EIL. Similar delays at different stations evidence a path-rather than site-effect.The results can be used for calibration of the IMS stations EIL and MRNI regarding Asian seismic events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-801
Number of pages23
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive detector
  • IMS station
  • Nuclear test
  • Spectral discrimination
  • Travel time calibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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