Subsurface airflow measurements before and after a small chemical explosion

S. J. Bauer, S. T. Broome, W. P. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


To increase understanding of damage associated with underground explosions, a field test program was developed jointly by Sandia and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories at the EMRTC test range in Socorro, NM. The Blue Canyon Dome test site is underlain by a rhyolite that is fractured in places. The test system included deployment of a defined array of 64 probes in eight monitoring boreholes. The monitoring boreholes radially surround a central near vertical shot hole at horizontal distances of 4.6m and 7.6m in cardinal and 45 degrees offset to cardinal directions, respectively. The probes are potted in coarse sand which touches/accesses the rhyolite and are individually accessed via nylon tubing and isolated from each other by epoxy and grout sequences. Pre and post chemical explosion air flow rate measurements, conducted for ~30-45 minutes from each probe, were observed for potential change. The gas flow measurement is a function of the rock mass permeability near a probe. Much of the flow rate change is at depth station 8 (59.4m) and is in the SE quadrant. Flow rate changes are inferred to be caused by the chemical explosion which may have opened pre-existing fractures, fractured the rock and/or caused block displacements by rotations and translations. The air flow rate data acquired here may enable a relationship and/or calibration to rock damage to be developed.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2020
Event54th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 28 2020Jul 1 2020


Conference54th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium
CityVirtual, Online


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