Visual Detection of Land Mines

Report No. ARL-TR-4073
Authors: Kristin M. Schweitzer; Andrew S. Bodenhamer
Date/Pages: April 2007; 40 pages
Abstract: The objective of this study was to identify indicators that enable the visual location of buried land mines. Four trained visual combat trackers each searched four 15-meter-long mine training lanes for visual indicators of buried mine simulants. Each mine simulant at the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, site gave some visual indicator that caused a tracker to mark it as a mine. Indicators included sub-strata stones, color changes, surface cracks, depressions, mounds, circular patterns (cracks, bare spots, vegetation, soil composition, etc.), disturbances, unnatural ledges or soil wash-outs, and recurring plant species over targets. The authors recommend teaching visual land mine detection to combat engineers, visual trackers, and any one who will be in possible land mine-contaminated areas. The authors also recommend that further research be conducted to broaden the visual indicator knowledge base to encompass different terrains and environments, various burying methods, and seasonal changes. As a direct result of this study, teaching of visual land mine detection has already been implemented at the U.S. Army Combat Tracking School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2007