Amchitka's nuclear legacy

Dave Barnes describes what happens during an underground nuclear blast

Audio credit: Audio courtesy Doug Schneider, Alaska Sea Grant College Program
Filename: Amchitka-Barnes.mp3
Download a transcript of this audio. (WORD 30K)

Blast diagram

When a nuclear bomb explodes far underground, the intense heat quite literally melts the surrounding rock into glass. In theory at least, scientists say this glass tomb will contain the blast's massive levels of radiation for the 100,000 years or longer it takes for the radiation levels to become safe. UAF researcher David Barnes says radiation is likely to eventually begin making its way through the island.

Image credit: Image courtesy of Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation II (CRESP) Amchitka Independent Science Assessment.
Filename: diagram.gif

Return to feature story