Hannam, J.A and Dearing, J.A.
Mapping soil magnetic properties in Bosnia and Herzegovina for landmine clearance operations
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 274, (3-4), . (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.05.006).
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Electromagnetic properties of soils have negative impacts on metal detector performance during landmine clearance operations. In particular, topsoils with high concentrations of pedogenic viscous superparamagnetic minerals (magnetite/maghemite) as shown by high values of magnetic susceptibility and frequency dependent susceptibility limit the detector capability of identifying buried landmines. Thus a priori knowledge of the spatial extent of soils that may be problematic for landmine detection would aid strategic planning of clearance operations and ensure appropriate equipment is deployed. Here, we compare two approaches for estimating the broad magnetic properties of soils in Bosnia and Herzegovina: 1) an analogue approach, using data for magnetic susceptibility and frequency dependent susceptibility available for soil types from other temperate and Mediterranean regions; 2) magnetic measurements of a stratified sample of soil samples taken from the Bosnian National Soil Archive. The national soil magnetic maps produced estimate that the area of land inferred as problematic for metal detectors is 4% and 30% according to the analogue and measurement methods respectively. Combining soil type with soil parent material and climate explains the spatial variability of soil magnetic properties in terms of mechanisms of secondary ferrimagnetic mineral production and accumulation. The resulting maps indicate that the magnetic properties of dominant soils in northern Bosnia tend to be unproblematic for detectors, while in central Bosnia there is likely to be moderate detector interference. However, there is a high likelihood of dominant soils affecting detectors in southern and western Bosnia and Herzegovina, equivalent to ~ 30% of the total land area. The mapped outputs of susceptibility and frequency dependent susceptibility provide demining end-users with an indication of the likelihood of encountering problem soils in areas selected for clearance operations.
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