The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945

By Ferenc Morton Szasz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
The Aftermath II: Cattle, Film, and People

In spite of the two colonels' denials, there had been a considerable amount of radioactive fallout after the Trinity test. The major part of northern New Mexico was covered with low activity. The coarser, heavier particles started to descend almost immediately, and when the cloud drifted over the Chupadera Mesa, the afternoon thunderstorms concentrated the fallout even further. Monitors eventually measured contamination in a path that extended from Ground Zero one hundred miles north to within fifty miles of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and northeast and north of Carrizozo; a narrow tongue east almost to Roswell (about a hundred miles); southwest to the Rio Grande and west to the Magdalena Mountain range. The original extent of the contaminated area has never been fully known. The one region of heaviest contamination, outside the restricted area, however, lay on the Chupadera Mesa, beginning about thirty miles north of Ground Zero and stretching north and northeast.1 The mesa was a limestone outcrop with an average elevation around 7,000 feet, containing steep hills, piñon pine and juniper, and open, grassy meadows. It was also the principal grazing range of the valley.

The first to feel the effects from the radioactive fallout were the livestock that had been grazing nearby. Except for initial gamma radiation, the sheep seemed not to have been much affected. Only their faces lay exposed, and their wool at that time of year was about one and a half inches thick and very tight.

-131-

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The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter One - The Origins of Los Alamos 7
  • Chapter Two - The Construction and Naming of Trinity 27
  • Chapter Three - Theoretical Considerations 55
  • Chapter Four - The Question of Weather 67
  • Chapter Five - The Blast 79
  • Chapter Six - The Aftermath I: Fallout 115
  • Chapter Seven - The Aftermath II: Cattle, Film, and People 131
  • Chapter Eight - The International Legacy 145
  • Chapter Nine - The Local Legacy 159
  • Epilogue 173
  • Abbreviations 179
  • Notes 181
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 225
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