Desert Soil Characterization for Detection of Buried Landmines, Unexploded Ordinance, and Tunnels

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DEES Sabol, Donald E. Jr. 08/21/2007 - 08/20/2009 US Department of Defense

Project Description

Technological advancements have made a wide range of approaches available to address the worldwide problem of buried unexploded munitions. Effectiveness of these approaches is dependent upon soil composition, structure, and soil spatial/temporal heterogeneity, as well as the size, structure, composition, and depth of munition burial. Therefore, an understanding of how these soil properties affect the different mine detection technologies is critical. The goal of this research will be to thoroughly describe the significant processes that influence near surface soils in desert environments, so that monitoring, characterization and surveillance systems can more accurately detect disturbances that would indicate the presence of land mines or mine fields. This work will be conducted at existing improvised explosive devices (IED) and countermine research sites located at the US Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), DoD's premier desert test facility. We will characterize four soil types (desert pavement soils, river valley, sand dune, and salt-rich soil) that represent the most common soil types found in Southwest Asia and the Middle East. The work will be conducted seasonally as well as diurnally to identify temporal effects. Remote, and automated monitoring systems will be deployed at each testing sites for in situ measurements of soil thermal properties (conductivity, capacity, and heat flux), electrical properties (dielectric permittivity and electrical conductivity), water content, temperature, and soil solution chemistry. Local meteorological conditions will also be monitored at the sites. Soil and meterological conditions for both natural, and disturbed soils (buried munitions) will be measured. The physical and chemical properties of these soils will be integrated with the in situ monitored soil environment into quantitative models to allow for both the simulation of the soil environment as well as the direct estimation of soil properties through inverse modeling procedures. Field measurements using VNIR/SWIR.TIR spectroscopy, ground penetrating radar, and electromagnetic induction will be made over the sites and used to evaluate how the desert soil environment will positively or negatively impact these important sensor technologies. The results of this study will advance knowledge of sensor performance related to fundamental soil processes common in desert environments.