Spectral Modulation Effect in Teleseismic P-waves from North Korean Nuclear Tests Recorded in Broad Azimuthal Range and Possible Source Depth Estimation

Y. Gitterman, S. G. Kim, R. Hofstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three underground nuclear explosions, conducted by North Korea in 2006, 2009 and 2013, are analyzed. The last two tests were recorded by the Israel Seismic Network. Pronounced coherent minima (spectral nulls) at 1.2–1.3 Hz were revealed in the spectra of teleseismic P-waves. For a ground-truth explosion with a shallow source depth, this phenomenon can be interpreted in terms of the interference between the down-going P-wave and the pP phase reflected from the Earth’s surface. This effect was also observed at ISN stations for a Pakistan nuclear explosion at a different frequency 1.7 Hz and the PNE Rubin-2 in West Siberia at 1 Hz, indicating a source-effect and not a site-effect. Similar spectral minima having essentially the same frequency, as at ISN, were observed in teleseismic P-waves for all the three North Korean explosions recorded at networks and arrays in Kazakhstan (KURK), Norway (NNSN), Australia (ASAR, WRA) and Canada (YKA), covering a broad azimuthal range. Data of 2009 and 2013 tests at WRA and KURK arrays showed harmonic spectral modulation with three multiple minima frequencies, evidencing the clear interference effect. These observations support the above-mentioned interpretation. Based on the null frequency dependency on the near-surface acoustic velocity and the source depth, the depth of the North Korean tests was estimated about 2.0–2.1 km. It was shown that the observed null frequencies and the obtained source depth estimates correspond to P-pP interference phenomena in both cases of a vertical shaft or a horizontal drift in a mountain. This unusual depth estimation needs additional validation based on more stations and verification by other methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1174
Number of pages18
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Volume173
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • North Korean tests
  • source-depth estimation
  • spectral nulls
  • teleseismic P-wave observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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