Results of the Cowboy experiments on the decoupling of underground nuclear explosions. These experiments show that the principle of decoupling by means of a large hole is correct. The decoupling factor of 300 is still considered the best estimate for a hole in salt relative to a tamped shot in Nevada tuff. The most surprising result of Cowboy is that decoupling is not an all-or-none effect. If the elastic limit of the medium is exceeded, the decoupling factor is reduced, but only gradually. As a result it appears possible to explode a 20 KT device in a cavity no bigger than some which already exist, without producing a signal that can be detected by the Geneva system.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.