“A nuclear-powered manhole cover”
At 10:35pm on August 27, 1957 in Area U3d of the New Mexico Nuclear Test Site, the bomb was detonated. But instead of the expected small yield the bomb detonated with a yield approximately five orders of magnitude greater than expected (that’s about 100 000 times greater). The blast instantly vaporized the entire multi-ton concrete collimator and shot it up the tube as a multi-ton wave of vaporized matter at extremely high temperature, pressure, and velocity. The shaft had, in effect, become a enormous 500-foot long, four-foot wide gun barrel with the energy of billions of pounds of TNT released at one end and, at the other end, the now insignificantly small metal cap, about the equivalent of a bottle cap on the end of a naval gun.
This was something I knew about before1 but it’s still just so cool that I feel the need to share it again.
- Listen I read a lot of random stuff about nuclear testing; normal people waste time on YouTube or whatever, I read through Cold War research documents. ↩