Largest Man Made Crater

In the picture you see a sedan crater than can be visited in Nevada Test site. You can see how enormous it is when you compare it with the space a platform takes in the picture. This crater is a result of an underground test of storax sedan and remains the largest man made crater. The nuclear testing was done in the 60s to look for non military use of nuclear explosives.

The nuclear device buried 635 ft under the ground displaced 11,000,000 tons of soil, leaving a crater 320 ft. deep and with a diameter of 1280 ft. It is the largest depression caused by a nuclear detonation. Over 10,000 people visit the crater every year. The test took place on July 6, 1962 and resulted in large amounts of radioactive fallout. The negative effects and health concerns apart, it remains a sight to behold.

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14 Comments »

  1. cHRIS Says:

    THere’s no fallout from an undergound test. check your facts please. fallout is the result of a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere that drifts and “falls” back to earth. Underground tests have no such debris, just dirt ejected up that falls back down and only has negligable radiotivity.

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  2. kepec Says:

    Not strictly true IMO. The radioactivity exists under or overground. The term “fall out” isn’t tied to blasts above ground although the term was born from what you suggest. A little browse of the internet will produce some “facts” for all to see.

    For subsurface bursts, there is an additional phenomenon present called “base surge”. The base surge is a cloud that rolls outward from the bottom of the subsiding column, which is caused by an excessive density of dust or water droplets in the air. For underwater bursts, the visible surge is, in effect, a cloud of liquid (usually water) droplets with the property of flowing almost as if it were a homogeneous fluid. After the water evaporates, an invisible base surge of small radioactive particles may persist.
    For subsurface land bursts, the surge is made up of small solid particles, but it still behaves like a fluid. A soil earth medium favors base surge formation in an underground burst. Although the base surge typically contains only about 10% of the total bomb debris in a subsurface burst, it can create larger radiation doses than fallout near the detonation, because it arrives sooner than fallout, before much radioactive decay has occurred.

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  3. dan sobol Says:

    You got that right; no drop, no fall. We liked to test nukes underground inside the continental U.S., atmospheric tests were saved for the Bikini isles and isolated Alaskan tundra.

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  4. emsti Says:

    what I dont get is why photographs of depressions taken from overhead actually look like they are projecting out of the ground.

    can anybody explain this illusion to me.

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  5. [...] Cerca de 10 mil pessoas visitam o buraco, criado em 6 de julho de 1962, todos os anos. Após a explosão houve uma grande quantidade de partículas nucleares. Mas apesar das preocupações com a saúde a visão impressionante vale os riscos para muitos. [Mother Trip] [...]

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  6. John Says:

    The fallout that resulted from this test is precisely why they stopped these tests. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_%28nuclear_test%29

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  7. ayeroxor Says:

    “Not strictly true IMO.”

    We’re not interested in your “O”pinion. The SCIENTIFIC FACTS are that there is barely any surface radiation from underground tests – that’s typically why they were done underground.

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  8. Bob Jones Says:

    “Check your facts” is funniest when coming from someone who is wrong. Check John’s citation. The issue here is probably the shallowness of the bomb when it exploded since it displaced the earth on top of it, which was kind of the point.

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  9. Plaz Says:

    The Sedan shot resulted in a radioactive cloud that separated into two plumes, rising to 3 km (10,000 ft.) and 4.9 km (16,000 ft.) The two plumes headed northeast and then east in roughly parallel paths towards the Atlantic Ocean.[5] A large amount of nuclear fallout was dropped along the way, narrowly dispersed in a relatively small number of United States counties. Detected radioactivity was especially high in eight counties in Iowa and one county each in Nebraska, South Dakota and Illinois. Most heavily affected counties were Howard, Mitchell and Worth counties in Iowa, as well as Washabaugh County in South Dakota, an area that has since been incorporated into Jackson County and is wholly within Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. These four counties measured maximum levels higher than 6,000 microCuries per square meter.[6]
    Of all the nuclear tests conducted in the USA, Sedan ranked highest in overall activity of radionuclides in fallout. 880,000 Curies of radioactive Iodine-131, an agent of thyroid disease, was released into the atmosphere.[7] Sedan ranked first in percentages of these particular radionuclides detected in fallout: 198Au, 199Au, 7Be, 99Mo, 147Nd, 203Pb, 181W, 185W and 188W. Sedan ranked second in these radionuclides in fallout: 57Co, 60Co and 54Mn. Sedan ranked third in the detected amount of 24Na in fallout. In countrywide deposition of radionuclides, Sedan was highest in the amount of 7Be, 54Mn, 106Ru and 242Cm, and second highest in the amount of deposited 127mTe.[6]
    Sedan’s fallout contamination exposed a little under 7% of Americans to radiation, more than 13 million people; the highest number exposed by any nuclear test explosion in the continental USA. Sedan’s effects were similar to shot “George” of Operation Tumbler-Snapper, detonated on June 1, 1952, which also exposed about 7% of American citizens to radioactive fallout, though in 1952 the country’s population count was lower than in 1962; shot George exposed about 11 million people to radioactive fallout. Uncertainty regarding exact amounts of exposure prevent knowing which of the two nuclear tests exposed the greatest percentage of the American populace; George is listed as being the highest exposure and Sedan second highest by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Cancer Institute.[8][9]

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  10. Thomas Says:

    “Not strictly true IMO.”

    Nobody cares about your opinion. The fact is, underground tests don’t produce fallout. They don’t produce fallout according to the book definition of the term fallout and they don’t produce and they don’t produce fallout due to the physical facts of the situation.

    All the nuclear material remains underground. Sure, someone could f-up an underground test by placing the charge too close to the surface, but that would, by definition, be a surface test and not an underground test. Surface tests produce fallout, but not in the quantities of atmospheric tests.

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  11. NFI Says:

    what I dont get is why photographs of depressions taken from overhead actually look like they are projecting out of the ground.

    can anybody explain this illusion to me.

    Try turning the photo upside down, in the above images the sun is lighting the landscape from below which is what is causing the illusion. Basically your brain assumes that all illumination comes from above.

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  12. Sean Says:

    Actually, there was fallout from this one, if you view the movie of the test, you will see that there is visible “fire” from the explosion and quite a bit of subsequently radioactive dirt and spent nuclear reaction materials ejected into the air to drift some distance. The radioactivity is exactly why these plowshare type uses ceased to be viewed as a viable earth moving method. The cloud hit an elevation of 12,000 ft.

    No opinions involved, this was a nuclear explosion that breached the surface and produced fallout.

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  13. Koombalala Says:

    How much radioactivity emanates now in February 2010 at the Sedan site?

    Critically, is it greater than walking around the streets of any city in the USA where background radiation exists as a fact of life?

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  14. yorrick hunt Says:

    With nuclear weapons, the air burst—usually several hundred to a few thousand feet in the air—allows the shockwave of the fission or fusion driven explosion to destroy the largest possible number of buildings, military units or vehicles, etc. This also minimizes the generation of irradiated soil and other debris (fallout) by keeping the fireball from touching the ground, limiting the amount of additional debris that is vaporized and drawn up in the radioactive debris cloud.(taken from wikipedia)

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