Research at Ohio State University is providing more information on tracking underground nuclear tests from thousands of miles away through GPS tracking technology, as detailed in a presentation at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization meeting in Vienna.

Researchers hope the added use of GPS tracking technology, in addition seismic activity and chemical sensors already in use, will provide concrete evidence on underground nuclear tests, by pinpointing precisely when and where tests occur.

When a powerful underground  nuclear test occurs, it creates changes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, known as the ionisphere.  The ionispheric changes are detectable by GPS tracking satellites, alerting scientists to the possibility of an underground nuclear test.   The use of GPS tracking in this manner is still in development, with one of the biggest challenges being the ability to recognize the difference between an earthquake and an underground nuclear test.


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