December 09, 2003


Sorry guys, I'm talking about the atoll where the US tested atomic and hydrogen bombs. The official webpage for the Bikini Atoll is here, and you can read about the history of the original population, events before and after the series of tests, and the current studies on the area.

Particularly humbling is the photo of the site of the largest weapon test conducted by the US, and the circular area of the island that was vaporized by the blast.

Among the earlier tests were a subset collectively known as Operation Crossroads. From the US Navy Historical Archives:

“Operation Crossroads was an atmospheric nuclear weapon test series conducted in the summer of 1946 at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The series consisted of two detonations, a low altitude test and a shallow water test. The devices, each with a yield of 21 kilotons, were named shots ABLE and BAKER. A planned third test, a deep underwater detonation, was canceled after the second test.

The series was intended to study the effects of nuclear weapons on warships, equipment, and material. These tests would provide important information on the survivability of warships in the event of nuclear war.”

”In contrast to all later atmospheric nuclear tests, a large media contingent was present for the two Crossroads detonations. They were allowed to cover the test atomic bomb explosions "with sufficient thoroughness to satisfy the public as to the fairness and general results of the experiment."” In all, 131 newspaper, magazine, and radio correspondents from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, and Britain covered the detonations, turning these experiments into major media events. In addition, three artists also recorded the project.”

The artist's works can be seen here in all their majestic horror.

The warships involved in the tests became known as the Ghost Fleet. You can find some underwater photography here, available as fine art prints, and a book with more history and photographs of the sunken remains can be found at Amazon.

In the extended entry is a picture of the 'other' bikini, just to lighten it up a little bit.


Oh puh-leeze. Like you didn't see that coming.

Posted by Ted at December 9, 2003 10:15 AM
Category: History

Actually, I didn't. Color me gullible.

Posted by: Victor at December 9, 2003 06:12 PM
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