Calibration Explosions

The Geophysical Institute of Israel successfully conducted the large-scale calibration on-surface explosion at Sayarim Military Range, Negev desert, Israel, on 26 August 2009.

The measured detonation time: 06:31:54.0 GMT,
GPS coordinates: 30.00057°N, 34.81351°E, altitude 556 m.

A charge of about 82 tons of high-energy explosives, assembled as a special design pyramid on the soft sediment surface, was detonated in the upward direction. High-pressures and strong ground motions in the range 70-600 m were measured. Preliminary analysis showed enhanced recorded peak pressures compared to estimations for the equivalent TNT charge, whereas the created crater and seismic magnitude, estimated by Israel Seismic Network, were smaller than expected for this on-surface charge. These results confirm that using the developed charge design provided desirable explosion energy generation and partition: maximum of the energy to the atmosphere and minimum to the ground.

Many institutions and persons participated in preparation of this experiment during four years, thanks to their efforts we could overcome numerous problems and difficulties. The Experiment Division of the Israel Defense Forces provided appropriate territory, logistics and near-source measurements. The Israel Military Industries Ltd. supplied new strong cast explosives in convenient packages. The Elita Security Ltd. conducted excellent fast assembling of the charge in a unique pyramid form, including the optimal initiation scheme. The University of Hawaii team installed several infrasound systems in Greece and coordinated deployment of portable arrays in Cyprus (University of Mississippi), in Southern Italy (UNIFI), France (CEA/DAM/DIF), in Austria and Northern Italy. The GII team provided seismic and acoustic observations at local distances 6-350 km.

The main goal of this Calibration Experiment was reached: to observe infrasound signals at numerous stations, including stations of the International Monitoring System. The signals were detected at far-regional distances up to 3500 km (Paris, France). An extensive Ground Truth (GT0) infrasound dataset for the Middle East, Mediterranean region and Southern Europe was established.

Conducting of the large-scale explosion was the main task of the Project: "Sayarim Calibration Infrasound Experiment", sponsored by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) (Principal Investigator of the Project and Manager of the Experiment - Dr. Yefim Gitterman of the GII Seismology Division).

GT0 Explosion Sources for IMS infrasound Calibration


Blast effects (2011) recorded on video 6 Km away:



 The explosion created a hole(2009):