“Dowsing Rod”/Dipole Antenna Responses in Complex and Cluttered Soils


John S. Janks

December 20, 2011

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INTRODUCTION Attempting to understand the geophysical forces that act on “dowsing rod”/dipole antennas is extremely complicated. One significant complexity is how the soil a landmine or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) affects electromagnetic energy in the area immediately the buried device. Many texts use “average” value electrical conductivity in the ground they are studying, but soil and sediment columns are anything but “average.” The complexity increases when man-made material (for example, garbage) is mixed in. In this short paper, we will present information on soil electrical conductivity and discuss how natural electric currents and electromagnetic energy react to the soils in which our test objects are buried. Countless natural electric (“telluric”) currents and electromagnetic energy of highly variable frequencies are constantly traversing these soils. Electrical conductivity (σ) of rocks, soils, sediments and minerals is one of the largest ranges of a physical property known in nature, 25 orders of magnitude. To date our field research has demonstrated that the following observations are factual: 1. The hand held rods respond to electromagnetic energy, 2. Movement patterns are based upon size, shape and composition, 3. The classic “L-shaped” metal rod, commonly referred to as a “dowsing rod” is in fact a hand held dipole antenna.

The Scientific Method: A Review1 It is necessary at this point to review public perceptions of science, as well as how hypotheses are created and modified. Science is not an agglomerate of truths that everyone believes, but rather a method for finding out the truth. Most of us remember the system first worked out by Roger Bacon in the 16th Century: observe an anomaly, hypothesize, deduce consequences, test) – a system of repeated trial and error in which experimentation modifies the hypothesis. It is not that simple. For example, (1) the framework in which the hypothesis was formed does matter, (2) many hypotheses require reference to objects and forces that can only be observed by extraordinary methods, if at all and (3) hypotheses tend to stand or fall together in “webs” of belief. There is no systematic method for creating a hypothesis. In fact, the creation of a hypothesis more closely resembles creative art than what we normally think of as science. Constructing a scientific hypothesis is often a matter of recognizing a new analogy (the heart as a pump, the brain as a computer, genes as instructions, etc.). In our research of dowsing rods one analogy became apparent: the L-shaped metal rods of the “dowsing rod” responds to electromagnetic energy in the same manner as the L-shaped metal rods of the dipole antenna.
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Scientific hypotheses are predictive. That is, until one test produces a very different outcome. A “web of belief” that stands or falls with the hypothesis isn’t always that easy to discern when one group of scientists modifies the hypothesis to fit the new data. Schick and Vaughn1 have provided criteria to evaluate the adequacy of a hypothesis: 1. Testability. A hypothesis is scientific only if it is testable. It is one reason we, as scientific authors, provide details of the methods employed – precisely so that others may verify the results. 2. Fruitfulness. The best hypothesis is the one that makes the greatest number of unexpected correct predictions. 3. Scope. Other things being equal, the best hypothesis explains and predicts the most diverse phenomena. 4. Simplicity. The hypothesis that makes the fewest assumptions is the best. 5. Conservatism. The hypothesis that fits best with other well-established beliefs is usually the best. Research: Goals, Methods, Funding and Results Research into methods to counter IEDs, landmines, tripwires and buried cords has gone on for decades. As has been pointed out earlier in this series, despite the $billions spent, the low-tech IED remains king of the battlefield.2,3,4 High-technology research into methods of countering landmines, IEDs and other buried objects is a highly varied and massive undertaking. There are so many methods under study the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining requires 226 pages to list them.5 Much of the research funding that has been spent on IED and landmine detection has involved ground penetrating radar (GPR), electrical conductivity measurements, soil characterizations and many other aspects. We salute the goal, as the lives saved by a successful development of a device that predicts the location of IEDs, landmines, below ground cords, and above ground tripwires would be a life-saver to the foot soldier on patrol. However, as decades of research and $billions have taught us, that goal is still a long way off. In order to be effective, any method will have to be small enough and light weight enough for the foot soldier to carry on patrol. Most of the high-tech counter-IED devices require input in the following areas: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Electrical properties of the soils and buried objects, Soil composition, especially clay, magnetic minerals, and water content, Electric impedance (boundaries), The absolute velocity of the radar wave above the buried object must be known, A buried object covering layered soil, e.g., and covered with loose soil may not be directly detected. 3

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In most cases, adequate radar-producing machinery and qualified technicians are; they must be capable of making changes to the survey rapidly. Finally, computing power and graphic displays are needed to show the location of the buried objects relative to the operator. In most cases, the operator and the radar unit are very close to the buried object. Considering the time and money spent just so far in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, such a complex system reaching the foot soldiers in significant numbers is unrealistic. Some success has been obtained at finding small metal and plastic objects buried at shallow depths,6 but the equipment and computer algorithms needed are far beyond the reach of the common soldier or civilian living in a mine-infested region. A comprehensive study of the interaction between soils and the equipment under study to locate buried objects paints a picture of the extraordinary soil parameters that must be considered (and known) before objects can be detected.7 To name just a few, the soil’s water content and position (relative to the UXO), clay content and whether or not the UXO is buried in or below the clay layer, electric conductivity changes, dielectric permittivity and magnetic field anomalies are required. Buried objects interact with electric (“telluric”) currents and electromagnetic waves, both man-made and natural. The electromagnetic waves themselves are extremely complicated and have been studied for over a century. These surface waves are important to understanding dipole antenna movement because they serve as the energy source. Listed below are a few of the surface waves that may affect hand held dipoles: Zennick or inhomogeneous plane waves, radial cylindrical waves, Sommerfeld-Goubau or axial cylindrical waves, Trapped Surface Waves, and Terrain Following Waves, among others.8,9 Electrical Conductivity locators can detect buried foreign objects of metal and plastic because there is a large difference in the electrical conductivities between the objects and the soil. But, the relationship is nonlinear and field data are noisy, making the task of differentiation difficult.10 In the 1970s, conductivity-tomography was also attempted as a buried object locator. There was some success when, (1) differences in the conductivity values between the site elements and buried objects were small, and (2) when the internal structure is well defined. While studied extensively, none was successful in discovering small plastic or metal mines buried at shallow depths.10 Because the high-tech breakthroughs have not appeared, and budget-funding cuts are looming, the average soldier on patrol or civilian plowing his field must do the best he/she can with what they have. Almost without exception, their equipment is simple and inexpensive. Farmers have been known to use sheep to clear out a minefield. Soldiers rely on their wits and the knife or bayonet – the very same tool their ancestors fighting in the American Civil War used against the first of these deadly weapons on the North American continent.

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Low-tech research relies on empirical evidence gathered by observation, then catalogued and retested. The starting point is the exact opposite of that of the high-tech programs: Find out what works, the conditions under which it works, and develop methodology and manual that every soldier can use. Specific rod movement patterns are documented for different IED configurations.11 These patterns can direct the soldier away from a buried object or tripwire. Theoretical aspects are temporarily placed on the back burner while the program detailing what will work is honed, taught in an easy-to-use format, and modified as the program progresses. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Landmines and the Soils They’re Buried In In this case, a basic hypothesis was created by noting that the L-shaped metallic “dowsing rods” bore a striking resemblance to the L-shaped metallic dipole antenna. The goal was simple: research the properties of the “dowsing rod”/dipole antenna until patterns could be established that were repeatable and predictable. That research has led to the following conclusions: 1. “Dowsing rods” are nothing more than hand held dipole antennas. 2. They respond to electromagnetic radiation in the earth and the atmosphere/earth interface. 3. They predict the location of a buried object, which depends upon the size and shape of the object. 4. Water, clutter, vegetation have no influence on the dipole antenna’s ability to predict the location of the object. 5. The antennas respond to some combination of electric (“telluric”) currents and natural and man-made electromagnetic energy. 6. Because dipoles rely on electrical potential differences, the composition is less important than the electric conductivity. Testing Protocol Discussions between which tool or which protocol is correct can be resolved in a relatively short time. In this case, whether or not “dowsing rod”/dipole antennas are effective can be established by selecting a 20 x 20 m or a 30 x 30 m test area where there has been no previous object burial, and test the following: • container, The ability of the rods to locate a quart sized metal or plastic

• A linear metal or plastic tube where the rods will provide not only the location the azimuth of the object, • A buried object with a wire (metallic) or cord (ceramic) leading from the object to the test area boundary, • Above ground trip wires. 5
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While this protocol is a basic suggestion, other tests could be added if needed. Electrical Conductivities of materials commonly used in the manufacture of IEDs and the soils they are buried in is shown graphically in Figure 1 and listed in Table 1.

Note, for example, that soils, whether dry sandy ones or wet clayey ones differ by no more than two orders of magnitude despite the completely different compositions. Many researchers simply report the range of conductivities in their measurements, and soil scientists and geophysicists accept the wide ranges as normal. Figure 1 shows simply the exponential value of electrical conductivities associated with simulated IEDs. Most IEDs are made of metal, plastic or ceramics. Note that the most common soils and sediments IEDs are buried in, soft sediments and wet and dry soils, fall outside the range of the metals, plastics and ceramics used in the IED itself. Of those listed in category 2, hard rock (including fractures) only dense limestone and pure quartz fall within the limits of the IED-making materials.

Figure 1. Exponential electrical conductivity models of materials used in IEDs and the soils they’re buried in.

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Figure 2. Example of soil conductivity enhancement when a metallic quart-sized container is buried in earth whose conductivity is about “0.” The vertical scale represents exponential values.

CONCLUSION This series of papers on why hand-held dipole antennas should be considered and tested as a legitimate countermine tool is results-based. In this paper, we have limited the discussion to the properties of IEDs, landmines and buried cords as well as the soils they are buried in. The research presented here demonstrates the influence of the differences in electrical properties between buried objects and soils on hand-held rod movement. While there is still much about dipole antenna/dowsing rod movement that is poorly understood, it is clear that our basic research has established the relationship between electrical conductivities are a significant factor in rod behavior.

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Table 1. Electrical conductivities of materials commonly
associated with IEDs and the soils where they’re buried.

Material‡ Soils12 Sandy Dry Sandy Wet Loamy Dry Loamy Wet Clayey Dry Clayey Wet Materials Air Pure Water Ground Water Dry Sand Water-saturated Sand Clay (saturated) Granite (dry) Granite (wet) Limestone Rock Salt Quartz Fused Quartz13 Potting and Casting Ceramics13 Plastics and Polymers13 Iron, Copper, Aluminum13

Electrical Conductivity (σ) in mho-m 10-4 10-3 10-4 10-2 10-4 10-2 0 10-4 to 10-2 10-2 to 101 10-7 to 10-3 10-4 to 10-2 10-1 to 100 10-8 to 10-6 10-3 10-9 10-13 10-14 10-20 10-9 to 10-11 10-12 to 10-17 107 to 108

Data from Telford, et al14 unless noted

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REFERENCES 1. Schick, T. and L. Vaughn, 2001, “Science and Its Pretenders,” Chapter 7, http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/SV_CH7.HTM, 5 p. 2. Janks, J. S., 2011, “How to Stop Landmines from Killing Our Soldiers Now,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/66873198/How-to-Stop-Landmines-and-IEDs-FromKilling-Soldiers-Now, 12 p. 3. Janks, J. S., 2011, “Research Summary 2005-2011: Experiments Reveal ‘Dowsing Rods’ Act as Dipole Antennas: Evidence and Applications,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/72560712/Research-Summary-2005-2011-DowsingRod-Dipole-Antenna-Findings-and-Applications, 10 p. 4. Janks, J. S., 2011, “Low Technology Method to Locate Landmines, IEDs and Tripwires,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/65351175/Low-Technology-forDetecting-Landmines-IEDs-and-Tripwires, 11 p. 5. “Guidebook on Detection Technologies and Systems for Humanitarian Demining,” 2006, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, Geneva, Switzerland, March 2006, 226 p. 6. Chin, D. C. and R. Srinivasan, 1997, “Electrical Conductivity Object Locator: Location of Small Metal and Plastic Objects Buried at Shallow Depths,” Proceedings UXO Forum ’97 Conference, May 28-30, 1997, 7 p. 7. Butler, D. K. and J. L. Llopis, 1999, “Soil Background Investigations at the Jefferson Proving Ground UXO Test Sites: Implications for Detection and Discrimination,” www.geoscience.wes.army.mil/Butler-UXOForum99.pdf, 24 p. 8. Barlow, H. M. and A. L. Cullen, 1953, “Surface Waves,” Radio Section, Paper No. 1482, 621.396.11: 538.566, pp. 329-341. 9. Hendry, J., 2009, “Factors Affecting Surface Wave Propagation,” 4th SEAS DTC Technical Conference, Edinburgh, 14 p. 10. Chin, D. C., Srinivasasan, R. and R. E. Ball, 1999, “Discrimination of Buried Plastic and Metal Objects in Subsurface Soils,” in Information Processing for Remote Sensing, Chen, C. H. (Ed.), World Scientific Publ., New Jersey, pp. 565 – 570. 11. Janks, J. S., 2012, “IED, Landmine and Tripwires: Response Patterns of Hand Held Dipole Antennas,” Buried Object Detection Course Manual, Seager Detection Systems, LLC, Houston, TX, 94 p. 12. Herz, N. and Garrison, E. G. (1998), Geological Methods for Archeology, New York: Oxford University Press, 343 p. 13. Physical Properties Database (2006), www.Matweb.com. 14. Telford, W. M., Geldart, L. P., Sheriff, R. E. and Keys, D. A., 1976, Applied Geophysics, New York: Cambridge University Press, 859 p.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR John S. Janks has a BA from Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL and an MS from the University of Illinois at Chicago, both in geology. He worked in the oil, gas and chemical industries for 25 years. For nineteen of those years he worked at Texaco and Chevron/Texaco subsidiaries. He developed x-ray diffraction quantitative methods, worked in environmental geology and remote sensing. Remote sensing included satellite spectral data, spy satellite photography, and aerial photographic analysis. He developed a satellite spectral program to identify and quantify oil field operations. He taught courses and wrote manuals in all these areas of science. For the past 20 years he has used dipole antennas for locating buried objects, waste pits, pipelines, and wellheads made of metals, plastics and ceramics. The dipole antenna program was also used in providing “ground truth” for satellite and aerial photograph analyses. He has written over 30 papers and abstracts. He has spoken to domestic and international groups on x-ray diffraction methodology, satellite and aerial photography interpretation, and oil seep detection. His work has included regions such as the “stans,” the Arabian Peninsula, Angola, Peru, Colombia, China and parts of SE Asia. He has prepared environmental analyses for the governments of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Abstracts of his papers are available upon request. He is a U. S. Navy Vietnam Veteran. He can be reached at: seagersystems@gmail.com

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