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Seafloor mapping reveals the degradation of ocean floor by Bikini nuclear bomb tests

Bikini Seafloor Hides Evidence of Nuclear Explosions,  Seafloor mapping has revealed a crater and several shipwrecks persisting 73 years after the world’s first underwater nuclear test.  Eos,  Amanda Heidt  28 Dec 19

Seventy-three years after serving as the site of the world’s first underwater nuclear test, the seafloor around the Bikini Atoll remains scarred by finely detailed craters and littered with derelict ships.

Today, an interdisciplinary team of scientists is using sonar to assess the complex submarine environment. The results provide a sobering assessment of humanity’s capacity to alter nature…..

Unleashing the Power of the Atom

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. Navy chose the Bikini Atoll for a series of controlled nuclear explosions. Between 1946 and 1958, 23 confirmed tests were conducted throughout the area.

Trembanis and his team studied Able and Baker, a pair of tests conducted in July 1946 as part of Operation Crossroads. Both Able and Baker involved plutonium fission bombs with a yield of between 21 and 23 kilotons, but they were deployed differently……….

Clustering around a laptop, Trembanis and his team witnessed the real-time rendering of an underwater crater more than 800 meters across—big enough to fit three Roman Colosseums. ….

Littered throughout the atoll are the husks of strategically placed ships—decommissioned dreadnaughts, aircraft carriers, and submarines meant to bear the brunt of the Able and Baker explosions. …..

Even independent of their place in nuclear history, the Pilotfish and other Bikini shipwrecks attest to the long-lived effects of human activities on the environment.

As old ships decompose, they become ecological burdens, and researchers found that several wrecks on the Bikini seafloor are leaching plumes of oil. Trembanis and his team looked at sketches from surveys the National Park Service conducted in the late 1980s and saw the degradation of the past 40 years…….


December 28, 2019 - Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans

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