H-Bomb vaporizes Elugelab


“Ivy’s explosion broke the stillness of a mid-Pacific morning on Nov. 1, 1952; at 7:15 a.m., observers on ships and planes 50 miles away watched an enormous deep-orange fireball blaze up in the distance. Then it rose to the stratosphere, trailed by a churning grey-brown pillar of water and the pulverized remains of the little sandspit of Elugelab. As the cloud cooled, it began to billow outward. Its colors lost their infernal intensity, paled to harmless-looking but deadly pastels. Then, slowly the 100-mile-wide cauliflower drifted away and disappeared.” — TIME, April 26th 1954.

About the test–and the subsequent one 15 days later–the public only heard rumors for more than a year. Only in the early 1954 that the government decided to release the full story. In March 1954, the press published some statistics about the blast, along with black and white photographs. Some still-cuts from color motion pictures followed. In the April 26th issue of the TIME magazine, it published the first color pictures of the test, which was taken with a still camera of the explosion at Elugelab. Above was one of those pictures.

Elugelab, part of the Enewetak Atoll, was completely vaporized by the weapon.

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20 thoughts on “H-Bomb vaporizes Elugelab

  1. Wow, I’ve never seen the aerial photo of what the bomb did to the atoll. Need a canal dug? No problem, we’ll have that mountain out of the way by tomorrow.

    The description of the 100 mile cauliflour drifting away is kind of harmless sounding. Having grown up within range of the Nevada tests, I’m glad most nuclear tests have stopped.

  2. […] nuclear testing, and some 43 nuclear tests were fired at Enewetak between 1948 and 1958, including the first hydrogen bomb test, code-named Ivy Mike, which vaporized the island of Elugelab. Only in 1977, the U.S. government began decontaminating the islands and in 2000 compensated $340 […]

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  4. I was there in “58” on the the USS Navarro APA-215 . Very spooky. Radiation very high after all of the tests – 42 in all. Took showers daily in contaminated water.. Lagoon full of radiation. I sometimes wonder why I am still alive due to high radiation level. Had 2 normal boys before and had 2 abnormal children after exposure. That island will never be able to have people on it. Have had hearing problems every since. Noise went on for 10 minutes + shock wave. Radiated Ginny Pig

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