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Israeli scientists use blast to simulate magnitude three earthquake

Aug. 26, 2009 10:43 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2009 9:33 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli Geophysical Institute detonated 80 tons of explosives in the Negev Desert on Wednesday as part of a study of earthquake effects.

European and Mediterranean countries monitored the test, which simulated a magnitude three earthquake, and was performed in a controlled underground explosion.

The Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure states that magnitude three earthquakes occur naturally once a week, but residents do not usually feel them. Still, people residing close the test site may have felt the effects of the controlled explosion.

Israel performed similar experiments in the southern Negev in 2004 with 35 tons of explosives and in 2005 with 20 tons of explosives. The experiment took place at a military base in the southern Negev, and was financed by the US Defense Department.

The test was part of a joint project with the University of Hawaii intended to improve seismological and acoustic reading in Israel and its surrounding areas.
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