According to the study, published in Anthropocene on Monday, the particles could only have been forged in extreme heats above 3,300 degrees Fahrenheit. “Little Boy”—the Bomb America dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945—vaporized the city, unleashed a fireball that reached 17 million degrees Fahrenheit.
Retired geologist Mario Wannier was sifting through the sand on a beach on Japan’s Motoujina Peninsula when he noticed the strange glass. Wannier’s trained eye can identify various minerals in a bucket of sand at sight—but the small glass beads he found puzzled him. “They are generally aerodynamic, glassy, rounded—these particles immediately reminded me of some [rounded] particles I had seen in sediment samples from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary,” Wannier said in an interview with UC Berkeley.
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