It sounds like something from a Hollywood movie. An
explosion occurs underground and the shockwaves wreak havoc as they spread. The
Department of Defense is working to make sure they know exactly what would
happen if something like this were to occur in real life. This is why they have
scheduled an explosion equal to about 190 pounds of TNT to take place near the
former Teton Dam site.
The event will occur about 80-100 feet underground and scientists
will be measuring its shockwaves. The area was chosen because it has the best soil
for an experiment such as this.
The Department of Defense experiment is being done to compare
the impact from an explosion underground with the years of data they have
collected with explosions above the surface. The key difference is that with an
explosion at ground level, the energy is allowed to dissipate into the
atmosphere where as an explosion underground would create seismic waves.
The Department of Defense does not expect this experiment to
cause a crater but they do anticipate some minor changes to the landscape but
nothing more than rattling a few loose rocks.
Researchers hope this location will help them to better predict
what would happen in the event of a terrorist attack or an act of war underground.
This area was simply chosen because of the type of soil that exists beneath the
surface. They have also checked with the USGS and were assured that this
explosion should not cause any earthquakes because there are not any fault
lines in the vicinity of the study area.
There have been some talks about possibly rebuilding the dam
but this experiment has nothing to do with any future projects of that nature.
The area will be closed off for three days as precaution. We
will bring you more details as we get closer to the blast date.