Thread: Other Seismology Topics in Nuclear Explosion Monitoring

Started: 2019-08-29 18:56:47
Last activity: 2019-08-29 18:56:47
The Air Force Research Laboratory is requesting ideas for potential monitoring seismology research projects in several areas. If you are interested in submitting responses, more details follow below.


During Fiscal Year 2020, the Nuclear Explosion Monitoring (NEM) program in the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicle Directorate (AFRL/RV) anticipates starting a small number of new research projects. The funding vehicle available to NEM is FOA-RVK-2019-0001 (, which is restricted to U.S. colleges and universities. NEM anticipates providing funds for these projects by establishing cooperative agreements under Core Technical Competency A.4, Space Awareness. Any NEM cooperative agreements will be for unclassified applied research (research category 6.2) with a public purpose, carried out on a college or university campus in the U.S. or a U.S. territory.

FOA-RVK-2019-0001 is an open announcement, which means that proposals may be submitted through at any time. However, NEM is making an informal request for information (RFI) about potential applied research projects for the priority topics summarized below in order to facilitate preparation of proposals that are germane to current program priority topics. NEM plans to review responses received on or before 2019 September 30 and provide feedback to respondents on or before 2019 October 21.

Responses to this RFI are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents will not be paid for the information submitted. The Air Force will not be obligated to pursue any particular acquisition alternative as a result of this RFI.

Do not submit classified information. Proprietary information or trade secrets should be clearly identified. All information received in response to this informal RFI that is marked proprietary will be safeguarded in accordance with the applicable Government regulations.

The primary goal of this RFI is to obtain information on potential solutions for current priority topics in nuclear explosion monitoring. Such solutions would require scientific research of the type published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at professional conferences. Interested parties should provide a statement of interest on university letterhead and include the following information:
1. Potential solution to address one of the priority topics;
2. Scientific research plan;
3. Time phased research plan (schedule);
4. Rough order of magnitude cost estimate correlated to schedule;

Each response should be submitted as a single PDF document, formatted for standard letter size 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper, preferably limited to three single-spaced pages in a 12-point or larger font. The PDF document may include an oversized page to contain graphic presentations.

The PDF document should be provided to AFRL. Classified data are not permitted, but sensitive or proprietary information can and must be encrypted. When ready to submit a response, please ask what approved submission method to use by sending an email query to any of the following recipients:
1. raymond.willemann<at>
2. frederick.schult<at>
3. glenn.baker.3<at>

Current Priority Topics of AFRL/RV Nuclear Explosion Monitoring

Topic 1: Attenuation and Full Waveform Earth Models
There is particular interest is improved prediction of waveforms and amplitudes at local and regional distances. Challenges of interest include (a) local/regional attenuation and scattering models, with emphasis on their ability to match observed amplitudes and codas of Pn, Pg, Sn, and Lg phases and observed amplitudes and dispersion of surface waves; (b) assessment of the extent and effects of censoring and development and application of appropriate methods to address censoring. Methodologies of interest include (a) models that fit multiple datasets (e.g. body wave and surface wave amplitudes); (b) utilization of full waveforms and finite-frequency methods; (c) approaches that account for 3D structural effects on amplitudes including blockage, scattering, and focusing/defocusing. In all cases, the important considerations include (a) the potential to improve predictions that affect yield estimation and/or discrimination; (b) robust estimates of confidence, resolution, and variance in the final product that fully account for modeling assumptions and measurement uncertainties.

Topic 2: Yield Estimation and Discrimination
There is particular interest in innovative methods for (a) estimating yield of seismic events recorded at local distances with low uncertainty; (b) resolving the tradeoff of yield versus depth through use of nonseismic data; (c) improving characterization of smaller events recorded at local and regional distances including determination of moment tensors and their uncertainties. It is of interest regarding all methods to understand uncertainties and limitations, especially for smaller events recorded at higher frequencies, and including how uncertainty of yield and other source parameters depends on uncertainty of earth models being used. Also of interest is new understanding of the properties of small seismic events and their seismic waveforms at local and regional distances to significantly improve yield accuracy and discrimination confidence.

Topic 3: Ground Truth for Location and Characterization
There is interest in the collection of location and source spectrum calibration events in poorly calibrated regions of interest. There is particular interest in calibration events leveraging closely held data that have not been used previously for such efforts. Location calibration should include precise absolute location and depth. Calibration events are more valuable when they (a) include accurate estimates and robust uncertainties of depth, origin time and other parameters based on different types of seismic data and independent information; (b) include source geometry, centroids, moment tensors, and broadband source spectra; (c) have a demonstrated potential to improve location and characterization capability.

Topic 4: Seismic Source Physics
There is interest in predictions of source generation of seismic signals, from all shallow source types, that may be used for yield estimation and/or discrimination. There is particular interest in methods of determining depth to within tens of meters for shallow and very shallow events. Also of interest are (a) physical understanding of the dependence of seismic source generation on small shallow explosion emplacement conditions (depth, scaled depth, decoupling, material properties, pre-stress, and local structure/topography); (b) hypothesis tests of proposed mechanisms for waveform characteristics; (c) investigations intended to distinguish between feasible source mechanisms rather than assess the feasibility of a single mechanism.
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