Explosives are commonly used in terrorist attacks and the craters formed by blast waves can be used as a diagnostic tool. For example, the focus of the explosion and the mass of the explosive used in the attack can be deduced by examining the location, geometry, and dimensions of the crater. However, studies about craters produced by explosions on or above ground level, which would be the case when the explosive charge is situated in a vehicle, are rarely found in the open technical literature. In this paper, a numerical study on craters formed by explosive loads located on the soil surface is presented. The soil parameters used in the numerical model, as well as the analysis procedure, were validated against experimental observations of the crater diameters. Results of numerical tests performed with different amounts of explosive on the soil surface are presented. Moreover, the effect of elevation of the center of energy release of explosive loads located on the soil surface is analyzed and discussed. Simple predictive equations for the crater diameter are presented.

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