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Living With the Bomb
AUGUST 2005
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Multimedia: 1946 Bomb Test
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Photo captions by Tom O'Neill
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Living with the Bomb Gallery Photo

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Boom!
Photograph from Bettmann/CORBIS

On July 25, 1946, the first ever underwater detonation of an atomic bomb unleashes a mile-high cloud of vapor, crowned by jets of ascending water. At its base the blast's expanding shock wave, visible as a whitish ring, engulfs a fleet of unmanned naval vessels. Part of Operation Crossroads—a series of nuclear tests conducted by the United States military in the Pacific Ocean's Marshall Islands—this was only the fifth explosion of an atomic weapon. It came almost one year after atomic bombs destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, ending World War II.


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