Concealment of Underground Explosions

by Albert L. Latter

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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.

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