Our Century of Fallout: Every Nuclear Detonation, Mapped

Illustration for article titled Our Century of Fallout: Every Nuclear Detonation, Mapped

Everyone's got a notion of how the last century went, in terms of nuclear explosions. There was Hiroshima, then Nagasaki. There were some nuclear tests out in the desert, and the ocean. But would you believe there've been over 2000?


In this map, which takes into account all the documented nuclear tests since 1945, two things really stand out. The few days in 1945 that saw the only use of nuclear weapons on humans register, when measured on the unfeeling scale of kilotons, as two small blips, aberrant in their location but unremarkable in their size. Then you see the key: The scale is not linear. If it was, the larger explosions would cover most of the map. That's the thing with nuclear weapons: It's easy to lose your sense of scale when it comes to how powerful they are, or what havoc they can wreak.

It paints (or visualizes) an unflattering portrait of the fifties and sixties not as golden years of postwar recovery and American prosperity, but as the years that the US and the Soviet Union, in blind competition with one another, spent all their time and untold amounts of their money blowing their own countries up. History! [DataVis]

UPDATE: Swapped image for original infographic, from Radial Cartography—Thanks, Adam!


BergenCountyJC is rocking in the free world

What I want to know is how does an underground test work?