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First Underwater Nuclear Explosion


World's first underwater nuclear explosion

Operation Crossroads was a series of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946. It was the first test of a nuclear weapon after the Trinity nuclear test in July 1945, and the first detonation of any nuclear device following the Fat Man detonation on August 9, 1945. Its purpose was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval ships.


operation crossroads
Mushroom-shaped cloud and water column from the underwater Baker nuclear explosion of July 25, 1946. Photo taken from a tower on Bikini Island, 3.5 mi (5.6 km) away. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)


operation crossroads
Crossroads Able, a 23-kiloton air-deployed nuclear weapon detonated on July 1, 1946. This bomb used, and consumed, the infamous Demon core that took the lives of two scientists in two separate critical accidents. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)

More Pics after the break...

operation crossroads
Prospective Operation Crossroads target ships and support ships at Pearl Harbor on February 27, 1946. Operation Crossroads "Baker" shot, 1946, Bikini Atoll. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)


operation crossroads
The blast lifted two million tons of water and sand into the air, creating a column 6,000 feet tall, 2,000 feet wide, and with walls 300 feet thick. Fifty-seven guinea pigs, 109 mice, 146 pigs, 176 goats, and 3,030 white rats had been placed on 22 nearby target ships in stations normally occupied by people. Altogether, 35% of the animals died as a direct result of blast or radiation exposure. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)


operation crossroads
The Wilson cloud lifts, revealing a vertical black object, larger than ships in the foreground, which most observers believed was the upended battleship Arkansas. Operation Crossroads "Baker" shot, 1946, Bikini Atoll. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)


operation crossroads
Aerial view of the Able mushroom cloud rising from the lagoon with the Bikini Island visible in the background. The cloud carried the radioactive contaminants into the stratosphere. Operation Crossroads "Baker" shot, 1946, Bikini Atoll. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)


operation crossroads
Operation Crossroads "Baker" shot, 1946, Bikini Atoll. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)


operation crossroads
Crossroads Baker, showing the white surface "crack" under the ships, and the top of the hollow spray column protruding through the hemispherical Wilson cloud. Bikini Island beach in the background. A 21 kiloton underwater nuclear weapons effects test, known as Operation CROSSROADS (Event Baker), conducted at Bikini Atoll (1946). Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.


operation crossroads
The Wilson cloud has evaporated revealing the cauliflower atop the spray column. Two million tons of water spray fall back into the lagoon. The radioactive base surge is moving toward the ships. Operation Crossroads "Baker" shot, 1946, Bikini Atoll. (Image courtesy of US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.)

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