Atomic Deserts A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones

The Soviet nuclear testing site in present-day Kazakhstan is just one of many places in the world that remain dangerously radioactive to this day.

The Soviet nuclear testing site in present-day Kazakhstan is just one of many places in the world that remain dangerously radioactive to this day.

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Part 2: A New Age Dawns


Corbis

On Jul. 16, 1945, at 05:29:45 local time, the atomic era began as the first ever nuclear bomb, called "The Gadget", was detonated at the White Sands missile testing grounds in New Mexico. A similar device exploded over Nagasaki just a few weeks later. Beforehand, some of those involved in the test expressed fears that the explosion might ignite the atmosphere and destroy all life on the planet -- or completely incinerate New Mexico. But despite these concerns, the 18 kiloton bomb was detonated, creating a twelve-kilometer high mushroom cloud and a blast heard 320 kilometers away. Sand at the site of the explosion turned into green, radioactive glass -- also called Trinitit.

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