8 Insane Nuclear Explosions

8 Insane Nuclear Explosions

July 21, 2008

A nuclear explosion occurs as a result of the rapid release of energy from an intentionally high-speed nuclear reaction. Below is 8 examples of this occurrence. Whether it be for testing, or the real the deal.


These shots were taken July 3, 1970, by the French army in the Fangataufa atoll. Codenamed Canopus, it yielded 914 kt. Although this picture, like many of the series, is a work of the French Army (as far as I know) this is an original scan from a hardcopy, as processed to remove dust and scratches.

image sources from above pics

next 2 from wired


Operation Upshot-Knothole, conducted at the Nevada Proving Ground between March 17 and June 4, 1953, consisted of 11 atmospheric tests: three airdrops, seven tower tests and one airburst. Upshot-Knothole involved the testing of new theories, using both fission and fusion devices.

House No. 1, located 3,500 feet from ground zero, was completely destroyed on the first day of testing. The elapsed time from the first picture to the last was 2⅔ seconds. The camera was completely enclosed in a 2-inch lead sheath as a protection against radiation. The only source of light was that from the detonation. Frame No. 1 (upper left) shows the house lighted by the blast. Frame No. 2 (upper right) shows the house on fire.

3. [below]

July 1, 1946, in the Marshall Islands: A mushroom cloud erupts in the North Pacific Ocean over the Bikini Lagoon during the first of the two detonations of Operation Crossroads. The series studied the effects of nuclear radiation on large ships, and the United States assembled a fleet of 90 obsolete naval vessels, including a few captured German and Japanese warships, for the test. Several ships can be seen here, silhouetted against the blast.

4. [below]

The Bravo test created the worst radiological disaster in US history. Due to failures in forecasting and analyzing weather patterns, failure to postpone the test following unfavorable changes in the weather, and combined with the unexpectedly high yield, the Marshallese Islanders on Rongelap, Ailinginae, and Utirik atolls were blanketed with the fallout plume along with U.S. servicemen stationed on Rongerik.


5. [below]

Trinity was the first test of technology for a nuclear weapon. It was conducted by the United States on July 16, 1945, at a location 35 miles southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, on what is now White Sands Missile Range, headquartered near Alamogordo. Trinity was a test of an implosion-design plutonium bomb. The Fat Man bomb, using the same conceptual design, was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, a few weeks later. The Trinity detonation was equivalent to the explosion of around 20 kilotons of TNT and is usually considered as the beginning of the Atomic Age.


6. [below]

BADGER was a 23 kiloton tower shot that was fired on April 18, 1953 at the Nevada Test Site, as part of the Operation Upshot-Knothole nuclear test series.


7&8. [below]

For those living under a gigantic rock the size of an apartment building: via wikipedia

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks at the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at the order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman on August 6 and 9, 1945. After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities, the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed on August 9 by the detonation of the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki.

The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings.

Nagasaki [below]

The exact moment of detonation at Nagasaki is captured in this remarkable photograph. Notice the three people in the foreground, as yet unaware that anything has happened. The destruction of Nagasaki followed that of Hiroshima by three days and compelled Japan to surrender, ending World War II. [below]

The Nagasaki bomb: codename fat man. 10,200 lbs, and a height of 10.6 feet [below]

Hiroshima [below]

The Hiroshima bomb: codename little boy. 8,818 lbs and a height of 9 feet [below]

Extra pic:

Taken 1 millisecond after detonation, showing the “Rope Trick” The spikes seen at the bottom of the detonation are caused by thermal radiation (approx 20,000 degrees Kelvin, 3 1/2 times hotter than the surface of the sun) vaporizing cables that held the device in place. This is known as the “Rope Trick”

The mottling effect seen on the surface of the fireball is caused by clumps of vaporized bomb debris, traveling at several tens of kilometers/second, hitting the back of the slower expanding fireball.


On a related note: I found this other wikipedia entry to be quite interesting…

Tip of the hat to:



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