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March 8, 2014

Earth Report

Bikini Nuclear Blast Anniversary

The Marshall Islands has commemorated the 60th anniversary of the most violent manmade event in the Pacific island republic’s history.

On March 1, 1954, the United States exploded a hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll that was far more powerful than even the scientists that built it had expected.

The blast, dubbed “Castle Bravo,” had a force of 15 megatons rather than the expected 6 megatons.

The resulting mushroom cloud of superheated air, water and fallout reached 130,000 feet (24.6 miles) in altitude — soaring well into the stratosphere.

Contamination from the largest above-ground test of a hydrogen bomb in U.S. history eventually spread to four continents.

The blast was 1,000 times more powerful than from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.

The image of Bikini Atoll to the right was captured by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite on August…

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