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Astonishing Footage Shows A Nuclear Bomb Being Tested Underwater

Joe Harker

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| Last updated 

Astonishing Footage Shows A Nuclear Bomb Being Tested Underwater

Featured Image Credit: Atomic Test Channel

Incredible footage from an atomic test in 1958 shows what happens when a nuclear bomb is tested underwater, and the explosion is huge. Watch below:

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At 1:30am on 16 May, 1958 just off the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands a nuclear test codenamed Wahoo was conducted.

A Mark 7 nuclear bomb with a nine kiloton yield was positioned 500 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean with the intention to detonate it.

The bomb was a tactical nuclear weapon which was designed to be carried and dropped by a fighter plane onto enemy forces on the ground, thankfully the Cold War never got so hot that tactical nukes ever got deployed.

A peaceful coastal view soon to be disturbed. Credit: Atomic Tests Channel
A peaceful coastal view soon to be disturbed. Credit: Atomic Tests Channel

The Wahoo test was meant to study the effects that dropping a nuke into the sea would have on ships in the vicinity, as if tactical nukes could be deployed against land targets they might also be used in naval warfare.

When it went off the bomb blasted a spray of water hundreds of feet high in less than a second, shortly afterwards the effects of the blast pushed the spray of water more than 3,800 feet across.

Three destroyers, a submarine, a mockup of a submarine and a merchant vessel were all positioned around the testing site to endure the blast and understand what the nuclear age could mean for naval warfare.

Even though the bomb was 500 feet underwater when it detonated, the blast was so powerful that the after effects could be seen for three and a half minutes.

A water sample taken from the detonation site measured 5 Roentgen per hour.

As for the ships, the one 5,900 feet away was hit by the shockwave and shook violently in the water.

Meanwhile, the merchant vessel moored 2,346 feet away from the bomb took so much damage that it was immobilised and sustained hull damage.

The blast of water could be seen for three and a half minutes after detonation. Credit: Atomic Tests Channel
The blast of water could be seen for three and a half minutes after detonation. Credit: Atomic Tests Channel

While the Mark 7 luckily never saw a combat deployment, being two thirds the strength of the 'Little Boy' bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War, it was superseded by larger and more powerful nukes.

The middle of the Pacific Ocean was also a safer testing ground than pretty much anywhere else in the world.

Other remote suggestions for testing nukes included the verdant hills and moors of Yorkshire, as secret plans to set off a nuclear bomb in God's Own Country were revealed.

In the years to come the nuclear arms race would grow with more bombs and missiles which could wipe out life on Earth being developed and tested.

The B53 nuclear bomb developed just a few years later in 1961 would be 1,000 times more powerful than the one which blasted such a large wall of water in this astonishing footage.

Luckily for our entire species, the last of those gargantuan bombs were dismantled in 2011.

Topics: News

Joe Harker
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