Geophysical Sensing Program

Since the mid 80's NML researchers have pursued environmental and geophysical remote sensing. Often this was done in conjunction with the US Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, also in Hanover, as well as with academic partners. Work ranged over many applications including

  • Simulations of very high frequency (mm wave) radar scattering from vegetation, snow, and natural surfaces
  • Lower frequency radar sensing of ice and rough, wet, or frozen surface soil layers
  • Radar responses of patterned and randomized surfaces
  • Ground penetrating radar responses of buried metallic targets of arbitrary shape
  • Electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensing of metallic objects (~ 10 Hz to ~ 300 kHz), applicable to buried targets.

This website, still under construction, presents some of our most recent activities centering around remote sensor discrimination of subsurface unexploded ordnance (UXO).

UXO is an enormous problem worldwide. In the United States alone, where no large scale warfare has taken place in modern times, it is estimated that a potential UXO hazard exists over more than 11,000,000 acres of land. Some of these lands are military practice ranges, to be turned over to the public for recreation or economical exploitation; others are the sites of long passed conflicts. UXO may remain dangerous over many years. Cuban television recently reported the detonation of a projectile in Santiago Harbor, some 100 years after it was fired during the Spanish American War. Cuban sources noted that it was the seventh such piece of ordnance from the war to explode in Cuba over the past thirty years. On a vastly larger scale, since 1946 the French Department du Deminage has collected and destroyed more than 18 million artillery shells and 600,000 bombs dropped from airplanes. However, near the city of Verdun, alone, it is estimated that there are about 12 million unexploded shells still remaining from World War I, many in degraded condition and containing toxic materials. Elsewhere in France are sites where hundreds of thousands or even millions of missiles rained down upon the landscape during that conflict, sometimes only within a matter of hours or days. During the First World War overall about 15% of bombs failed to detonate. Thus, even after all the intervening time, the remains of this and other conflicts pose an enormous problem in the present. Including military training areas and regions where peaceful uses of ordnance were attempted, the problem of buried UXO is terribly widespread, from the jungles of Vietnam and the warm beaches of Puerto Rico and Hawaii, to the glaciers of British Columbia and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

   Please contact us with questions or comments
UXO group at Dartmouth College - 2005