Residual explosives in soils coming from buried landmines


  1. Desilets, S.
  2. Gagnon, N.
  3. Jenkins, T.F.
  4. Walsh, M.E.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research Establishment Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN);Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab, Hanover NH (US)
The aim of this work was to determine the level of explosives-related chemicals in the soil around buried landmines. The site had seven types of unfused landmines buried two and three years prior to the sampling. Samples were collected on the surface of the soil and at different levels in the subsoil down to the landmine. The chemical analysis showed that 2,4-DNT was present at concentrations in the soil slightly higher than 2,4,6-TNT. The level of explosives was found to be below 100 ppb w/w for a large number of samples. In some cases, explosives concentrations were higher than 100 ppb but very rarely in the ppm w/w range. Due to the low concentrations and high soil/air partition coefficients, it appears that these buried landmines would not be detectable by any existing electronic noses nor by dogs. However the fact that dogs do find buried landmines suggests that fused landmines may leak more than an unfused one and lead to a much higher concentration of residual explosive in soil.
Soil analyzer;Explosive residues;Explosives detection;Explosives in soil;Trace explosive detection;Trace explosive detector
Report Number
DREV-TR-2000-125 — Technical Report
Date of publication
22 Feb 2001
Number of Pages
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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