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On July 16, 1945, the world’s first nuclear explosion, code named Trinity, occurred at a test site located 336 km south of Los Alamos on the barren plains known as the Jornada del Muerto in New Mexico. The plutonium device, called the Gadget, was hoisted atop a 100-foot tower and detonated at precisely 5:30 am releasing energy equivalent to 18.6 kilotons of TNT, instantly vaporizing the tower and fusing the desert sand into green glass. The shock wave was felt over 160 km away, and windows still rattled 320 km away. The success of the Trinity test meant that an atomic bomb could be readied for use by the U.S. military. The first deployment occurred on August 6, 1945, when the Uranium-235 device was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, and the rest is history.

Today, the Trinity Site is open to public only twice a year, on the first Saturday of April and October. Each time thousands of people make a pilgrimage to check out the partially filled crater left by history’s first atom bomb test – a slight depression measuring 340 feet across. At the center, a stone obelisk made of black lava rock marks ground zero, where the bomb was detonated.

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