Simple Parameterized Models for Predicting Mobility, Burial and Re-Exposure of Underwater Munitions

Dr. Carl Friedrichs | Virginia Institute of Marine Science



There is a need to predict the location of munitions relative to the sea floor: whether they are found proud on the sea bottom, partially buried, or completely buried in the sediment as a function of historical use and site conditions. Motivated by this need, the objectives of this project are (i) to compile existing quantitative data regarding the mobility, burial, and re-exposure of underwater unexploded ordnance (UXO); (ii) to utilize these data to further develop simple models for UXO mobility, burial, and re-exposure; and (iii) to quickly provide these improved parameterized model formulations for use by others.

Back to Top

Technical Approach

A search will be made of the literature and of the engineering, scientific, and Department of Defense (DoD) communities for quantitative field and laboratory data on the mobility, burial, and re-exposure of objects that are large relative to the surrounding sediment (including natural objects such as cobbles and rock fragments, and man-made objects such as UXO and other artifacts). These data will be utilized to further develop and constrain simple, rational, parameterized models for UXO mobility, burial, and re-exposure. It is anticipated that both the surrounding sediment and individual object forms of the Shields parameter will play central roles in developing robust predictive relationships, although the resulting relationships are likely to be nonlinear. Additional parameters that more explicitly incorporate object size and shape are also likely to be important and thus will be identified and constrained. Results of parameterized modeling will be passed on to those constructing a more systematic Expert Modeling System, as well as to the larger DoD, scientific, and engineering communities.

Back to Top


Better understanding and predictive ability regarding the mobility, burial, and re-exposure of UXO will greatly enhance the ability of DoD to productively detect and thus characterize and remediate these environmental and safety hazards. The scientific and engineering communities will also benefit from a better and more unified understanding of fundamental controls on the interaction of sediment with munitions-sized objects, including a wide range of natural and man made objects. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2014)

Back to Top

Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Carl Friedrichs

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Phone: 804-684-7303

Program Manager

Munitions Response