Nuclear monitors picked up Russian meteor

Feb. 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM
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VIENNA, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Sensors meant to pick up the sounds of atomic testing detected the ultralow frequency waves from the meteor that exploded over Russia last week, scientists say.

The infrasonic waves from the meteor were the largest ever recorded by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization's International Monitoring System, they said.

Infrasound is low frequency sound with a range of less than 10 Hz, and while people cannot hear the low frequency waves they were recorded by the CTBTO's network of sensors as they travelled across continents.

The blast was detected by 17 infrasound stations in the network meant to tracks atomic blasts across the planet, and the furthest station to record the sub-audible sound was 9,300 miles away in Antarctica, a release from the organization's Vienna headquarters said Tuesday.

"Scientists all around the world will be using the CTBTO's data in the next months and year to come, to better understand this phenomena and to learn more about the altitude, energy released and how the meteor broke up," CTBTO acoustic scientist Pierrick Mialle said.

Infrasound is one of four technologies including seismic, hydroacoustic and radionuclide utilized by the CTBTO to monitor the world for violations of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty that bans all nuclear explosions.

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