Nuclear Tests and the Formation of Icosahedrite

Radioactive fires forged by the atomic blasts in 1940s New Mexico created a crystal found in meteorites.

via SyFy

But, to be a little less florid and more sciencey, scientists have found an extremely unusual form of a crystal called icosahedrite, which had previously only been found in a weird meteorite or created in the lab. The difference here is that this specimen was found in a mineral made when the intense heat and pressure from the very first atomic bomb detonation — the Trinity test — fused the sand underneath it into glass. And not just the sand, but the metal from the tower it was mounted on and the copper from transmission wires connecting instruments to the test.

All of this came together to form a weird mineral called trinitite. It’s usually glassy and green, and, unsurprisingly, is slightly radioactive. A more rare form of trinitite is red, and a piece of this was found after World War II north of the 80-meter-wide crater from the test in Alamogordo, NM. The color may be due to copper oxide from the transmission wires fused into the mineral.

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