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GROUND ZERO of the atomic age is marked by a modest lava stone obelisk. "Where the World's First Nuclear Device Was Exploded on July 16, 1945," its plaque reads.
Trinity Site is open to the public twice a year--on the first Saturday in April and October. No reservations are required. Trinity is located on the northern end of the 3,200-square mile White Sands Missile Range, N.M. between the towns of Carrizozo and Socorro, New Mexico. See the links below for visitor information.
Trinity, as that first test explosion was code-named, was, arguably, the single most important event of the 20th century.
The plutonium fuel of the bomb, probably a sphere about the size of an orange, was made at Eastern Washington's secret city of Hanford, the product of 51,000 workers laboring for 27 months. The flash at 5:29:45 a.m. released four times the heat of the interior of the sun, created a pressure of 100 billion atmospheres and was seen 250 miles away.
Officials told New Mexicans that an ammunition dump had exploded, a story accepted in that era's patriotic secrecy.
The matter-of-fact willingness of our brightest minds to build such a bomb remains haunting. In the pre-dawn darkness, the assembled physicists slathered on sunscreen in anticipation of what they were about to unleash, then took shelter in bunkers and trenches nearly six miles away.
The flash lit the surrounding mountains brighter than the noon sun. The roar broke windows at a distance of 120 miles. In a single instant, scientists had released energy equal to all the bombs dropped on London by Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe during the Blitz.
The heat was so intense that it vaporized the tower holding the bomb and melted the sand underneath into a green glass dubbed Trinitite. A mile away, exposed surfaces were heated to 750 degrees. At 10 miles, the heat still felt like the open mouth of a fireplace, witnesses reported.
Other Trinity Site links:
Trinity Site - White Sands Missle Range
Trinity - Completion of the Wartime Mission
Seattle Times - 50 years after Trinity
ABQ Journal - Trinity: 50 Years Later
The Unofficial Trinity Site Page
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- Trinity Site MonumentThe monument marking Ground Zero of the Trinity Site
Last Updated: on 11/15/2017 3:57:39 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (11:57 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum