Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Tropical Soils Impede Landmine Detection

Use of a metal detector is the most common technique when searching for landmines, which litter the soil in approximately 90 countries around the world. Many of these countries are located in the tropics where intensively weathered soils are prevalent. These tropical soils have certain properties that can limit the performance of metal detectors due to soil magnetic susceptibility. This problem is enhanced by the spread of minimum-metal mines.

Magnetic properties of soils are caused by ferrimagnetic minerals, such as magnetite and maghemite. The negative effects can result in a reduction of detector sensitivity or cause false alarms. To overcome these problems, the metal detectors have been continuously re-hauled over the years but only now has the geoscientific research of the soil been taken into account. The knowledge of soil magnetic properties may allow detectors to be adapted to meet the local conditions.

Geoscientists at the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geosciences and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Hannover, Germany conducted a study on the magnetic susceptibility of tropical soils using the soil archive of the Federal Agency. The magnetic susceptibility of more than 500 soil samples from the entire tropical belt was analyzed with the goal of classifying their impact on landmine detection. The research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and was published in the January-February 2008 issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

The study revealed that the problem of soil influence can occur quite frequently. More than one-third of the measured soil samples may generate severe or very severe limitations when using metal detectors. Soils were grouped according to their parent rocks. On average susceptibility of soils with basaltic origin were higher than those of other origin. However, the variability within the different groups is high. This provides evidence that besides origin additional influences on soil susceptibility such as soil development are likely to exist.

The significance of the study is highlighted by a statement of Holger Preetz who conducted the study: “We are very lucky that such a large number of soil samples were available from the soil archive. This allowed us to investigate the impact of weathering and rock type on soil susceptibility simultaneously. We found a clear indication for a strong influence of soil development on the occurrence of high susceptibilities. Based on these results we are able to provide a classification scheme for the prediction of detector performance. This is of great interest for the de-mining community. During the planning phase of a de-mining mission the classification of magnetic soil properties can be done by using easily available geoscientific information.”

The study provides a solid base for further research. In an upcoming investigation we plan to clarify the question whether residual enrichment or neoformation of magnetic minerals is the dominant processes for increasing soil susceptibility during soil development. These results will provide insights whether it is more reasonable to use a soil map or a geological map or both for predicting susceptibility. In addition, the research looks into the characteristics of the frequency of the soil magnetic susceptibility which also affects detector performance and is therefore of great interest to the de-mining community.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at:

Soil Science Society of America Journal,, is a peer-reviewed international journal published six times a year by the Soil Science Society of America. Its contents focus on research relating to physics; chemistry; biology and biochemistry; fertility and plant nutrition; genesis, morphology, and classification; water management and conservation; forest, range, and wildland soils; nutrient management and soil and plant analysis; mineralogy; and wetland soils.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is an educational organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, which helps its 6,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of soil science by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>