Photographers and reporters gather near Frenchman Flat to observe the Priscilla nuclear test; June 24, 1957
The 1965 Chagan nuclear explosion was part of Russia’s Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program. The idea was to use nuclear explosions for peaceful civil engineering projects. The 140 kiloton explosion created a 100 metes (328 ft) deep lake and dammed a nearby river.
An underwater nuclear test being conducted during Operation Dominic, Pacific Coast off California; ca. May 11th 1962
This isn’t even the impressive part. The impressive part comes right afterwards…
Watch this video of the explosion:
Here is a video of the shot. It was the fifth largest nuclear shot by the US ever, at 9.3 megatons. It really does look like a sunrise/set (only at 1000x speed).
(I recently read Command and Control, would recommend it, covers a lot of the insanity regarding nuclear weapons. Apparently, up until the 80’s they were surprisingly easy to to set off, none of the PAL stuff you see in movies these days. Right after World War Twi they were still trying to figure out how to work nuclear war into scenario planning, it leads to a lot of crazy phrases like “limited nuclear war” or “progressive escalation” in terms of how to use the weapons not just against the soviets but also against weaker world powers. I think the USA did get a bit of a God complex for a bit, but once the cold war started it balanced it out to a more muted insanity and paranoia as they realized that just about any major power could drop a nuke and it might just set off the rest of the world, intentional or not…)
Since the first nuclear explosion in 1945, nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed, with the majority taking place during the 1960s and 1970s. Nearly 1000 of these were at the Nevada Test Site in the desert outside Las Vegas. When the technology was new, tests were frequent and often spectacular, and led to the development of newer, more deadly weapons. All sorts of tests were conducted; to animals, to houses, bridges, clothing and shelters. These mushroom clouds and craters became a tourist attraction. They were banned in 1963, giving way to underground testing, which involved lowering a massive nuclear device several hundred feet underground, rattling the bones of the earth and producing craters, “sink depressions,” across the barren landscape as big as 1,500 feet in diameter.
But wait, there’s more!