Deformations of Cavities of Underground Nuclear Explosions
in the Region of the Astrakhan Gas Condensate Field (AGCF)

S. G. Gevorkyan* and B. N. Golubov**

* Production and Research Institute for Engineering Survey in Construction

** Scientific Council on Problems of the Biosphere, Russian Academy of Sciences

Received September 5, 1996

Abstract—Fifteen cavities of underground nuclear explosions that had formed in the salt horizon of the AGCF,
from 1980 to 1984, underwent abrupt deformations and flooding. This phenomenon was caused by a set of nat-
ural and technological factors. Deformation of an explosion cavity is similar to collapse of a cavitation bubble
in a fluid but is considerably slower (corresponding to a rock flow velocity). Instability of the walls of nuclear
explosion cavities results in deformations of overlying rocks and collapses of the earth’s surface. Methods for
the quantitative estimation of the parameters of such collapses above the set of several nuclear explosion cavi-
ties were determined. The percolation rates of radioactive solutions from these cavities have been determined
on the basis of the data of long-term geothermal observations. The AGCF deep-seated rock masses still show
adjustment movement. Therefore, the risks of intensified hazardous engineering geological processes and of
aggravated radiation conditions at the field still exist.