Nuclear Tourism continues to be popular especially in the United States, where older folk still remember seeing distant plumes in the Nevada Desert. I decided to post an account of America’s first atom bomb test, the Trinity Test Site and the monument at ground zero open to the public. If there is interest, I have a bucket load more of them.
It was early 1945. The American military lobby was scrambling to bring the war with Japan to an end while the political will survived. Japanese resistance was resolute. The Allies only hope lay in a plutonium bomb that scientists called ‘The Gadget’. The Fat Man Bomb as it became known was the world’s first atomic weapon, but nobody was sure the Trinity Test would really work.
The Trinity Test Design
They decided to test their ‘Fat Man’ bomb in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico near a bombing range. Twice, friendly aircraft accidentally bombed the workshops while they were assembling the weapon. The test was code-named ‘Trinity’ why no one knows. On 16 July, 1945, they hung their bomb from the top of a thirty-meter tower, and assembled to see what would happen.
The Trinity Test Site Experiment
Men gathered to watch in bunkers less than a kilometre from their ground zero. At 5:29 am they detonated a device equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT. The sand melted into glass as a tremendous bubble released blinding light as it punched through the clouds, and caused a shock wave people felt 160 kilometres away. An observer wrote ‘it worked’:
The lighting effects beggared description
The lighting effects beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue. It lighted every peak, crevasse and ridge of the nearby mountain range with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described but must be seen to be imagined.
Trinity Test Site: Trash to Ponder Over
All that remained for scientists to ponder over was a crater 9 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep. Remember, the bomb exploded thirty meters above the ground. Nobody bothered to measure fallout doses, because they either did not know, or care. At the Trinity Test Site, a monument to the event stands some 50 miles north of the White Sands Missile Site. You are on U.S. Military Property. Double check your car hire comes with a full tank of petrol, and don’t be inclined to deviate from the route.
‘Trinity Test Site Where the World’s First Nuclear Device Was Exploded on July 16, 1945’