Nuclear Detonations

A time lapse youtube video of locations of nuclear detonations on Earth (all but a couple, of course, being tests).  There are far more than I would have guessed.  Had you given me an over-under of 2000, I would have surely taken the under.  And been wrong.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this, of course.  May be they are counting a test differently than I would.


  1. Henry Bowman:

    Saw this a couple of years ago; it was rather cool. I'm pretty sure it is accurate. You can find a vast trove of nuclear weapons-related information at Johnston's Archive - Nuclear Weapons, which is a subset of Johnston's Archive. There is even a KML file showing the locations of all the tests, including the high-altitude tests.

  2. Hugh:

    There was one flash in the video in the gulf of mexico during the 60s. Anyone know what that's about?

  3. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    I don't recall what my own "number" was before you wrote this, but I *think* 2k does not surprise me. There were a hell of a lot more in the past that were above ground (now controlled by the test-ban treaty to "prefer" underground testing). It's not really that many, if you think about it -- you have seven nations -- USA, USSR, France, UK, China, India, Pakistan -- if they each did only 10 in the initial development process, that would be 70 or so. If you assumed 2100, that would be only an average of 300 apiece, hardly a huge number of tests for different designs.

    In addition, South Africa (formerly), Israel (almost certainly) and South Korea and Japan (nominally) have been deemed fully capable of becoming nuclear powers at will. Add to that North Korea as the eighth undisputed Nuke Nation.

    While I believe the chances of a nuclear weapons detonation to be higher than ever (much of that thanks to The Big 0), there is pretty close to no chance of any kind that there is likely to be a planet-destroying widespread exchange of weapons anytime in the immediate future.

    I found Harlan Ellison's observation, made on Nightline on the 45th anniversary of Hiroshima (now more than 15 years past) to be... interesting.

    He pointed out that it was a hopeful sign that we'd backed off and NOT used weapons. And the reason why we'd not used these weapons was that, far from them being "immoral", they were actually highly moral weapons, much more so than others. For the first time since kings stopped riding into battle at the head of their armies, it had once more become the case that the brunt of the impact of the weapons would be borne by those whose choice it was to use those weapons. The mere plebes, hey, they'd lose their lives and families. The Rich Bastards, though, stood to lose not only lives, but all their wealth and power in addition. And THAT, dear readers, is why these weapons were never used. And why Islam's possession is a grave danger, since they imagine they can do so with impunity, that Allah will rescue them from the results of their failures. There IS no "downside" to the use of nuclear weapons to them.

  4. GoneWithTheWind:

    I would be willing to make a bet right now that we will see nuclear weapons used again in the next five years.

  5. Henry Bowman:


    There have been no nuclear detonations in the Gulf of Mexico. However, there were two in southern Mississippi in the 60s: Salmon (1964) and Sterling (1966), both detonated in the same salt dome (they were decoupling experiments). The location was about 135 km NNE of New Orleans.

  6. ErisGuy:

    The Cold War: the only war fought and won by dropping nuclear weapons on one's own country.