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Until recently, databases of the properties of mines were often considered military secrets, due to the tactical advantage in knowing the details of the mines one might encounter. With the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Army declassified their entire land mine database, which is now available on a CD-ROM from the Countermine Division at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

But even the most comprehensive database cannot include improvised mines constructed in the field. A small ball of plastic explosive and an easily-constructed detonator makes a perfectly serviceable blast mine.

Perversely, if an effective ban on the international traffic in mines is enforced, we can expect more of these.