Saturday, May 12, 2007

A thousand craters

Between 1951 and 1992 the U.S. conducted 925 nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles NW of Las Vegas. Around 100 of the explosions occurred above ground, which resulted in the greatest fallout occurring in the Rocky Mountain States and the Great Plains (enough to cause tens of thousands of cases of thyroid cancer).

Satellite images of crater-pocked site can be viewed via Google Maps: link Zoom in with the navigation tools for more detail. The scale annotation in the lower-left gives an estimate of the physical size of the craters.

The impetus behind this attention is a recent viewing of Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, an excellent (and highly recommended) documentary created by the Discovery Channel in HD. There's a lot of declassified footage in the film, including a number of scenes of terrestrial devastation occuring in real time during the explosions. Schools should be required to show this film.


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