SMU Faculty Monitoring Nuclear Tests


Brian Stump, Albritton Professor of Earth SciencesAlbritton Professor of Earth Sciences Brian Stump’s research has led him to critical role in monitoring North Korean nuclear tests. Operating two seismic detectors for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, Stump focuses using a combination of sound-wave and seismic-wave detection to understand the type of these explosions better and faster.

Through the use of two seismic stations, located in Big Bend National Park in Texas and in Mina, Nevada, Stump and his team analyze the data resulting from the sound and seismic waves that occur when these weapons are detonated.

The Dallas Morning News recently interviewed Dr. Stump about his work. Read an excerpt below. To see his full interview and learn more, click here.



Anna Kuchment, Dallas Morning News
September, 8, 2017 

At 9:30 p.m. Central time last Saturday, detectors around the world picked up signs of a massive explosion in the vicinity of North Korea's nuclear test site.  

The country claimed, for the second time in less than two years, that it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than the bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.  

The last time North Korea said it had a hydrogen bomb, in January 2016, experts quickly dismissed its claim. This time, some say it's a possibility.  

"The magnitude of this event is bigger than any U.S. or Russian test since the early '70s," said Brian Stump, a seismologist at Southern Methodist University, which operates two seismic detectors for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. 

Shock waves from the explosion clearly registered on the SMU-operated detectors near Big Bend National Park in Texas and in Mina, Nev.  Here's what scientists know about the event — and how they know it. Read more.