In the morning of the 16th of July, 1945 the first atomic bomb blast detonated at the Trinity site in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Although a lot of the physics and chemistry had been intensively researched, no one knew for sure what would happen. There was, (as in all scientific endeavours), a small risk of the unexpected and the unintended occurring.
This was highlighted when physicist Enrico Fermi offered a wager on:
“…whether or not the bomb would ignite the atmosphere, and if so, whether it would merely destroy New Mexico or destroy the world.”
Thankfully, New Mexico was not destroyed from the blast and the events of World War II were still far more damaging on the human race than this one atomic bomb test.
The blast did result in a formation of a glassy residue on the desert floor after the plutonium-based nuclear bomb. This glass was analysed and it was found that it was composed of quartz grains and feldspar with small amounts of calcite, hornblende and augite in a matrix of sandy clay. The heat of the blast had caused the sand on the surface to melt. The glassy residue was given the name Trinitite, Atomsite and is also known as Alamogordo Glass.
Samples were gathered in the 1940s and 1950s and sold to mineral collectors as an item of curiosity. It is now illegal to collect any of the remaining material and the United States Atomic Energy Commission bulldozed and buried the test site in 1952. The samples of trinitite that was collected before. Although it has been many years since the Trinity Test in 1945, the samples of trinitite are still emitting low level alpha radiation.
Less than one month after the first atomic bomb test, the United States of America made its place in history as the first country to use a nuclear weapon on another nation when it dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on the 6th of August, 1945. This was then followed with a second attack on the port city of Nagasaki in Japan three days after the attack on Hiroshima.