January 25, 2016


One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us archival footage of shot "Cannikin" a test of the huge 5 megaton W-71 thermonuclear X-ray warhead for the Safeguard ABM system's Spartan Missile

"Soooo.much 'splody!"

The largest underground explosion in history, it set off an earthquake that registered 6.8 on the Richter scale, and although the terrain of Amchitka Island was permanently altered, no venting (ie: radioactive release) was detected. 

The W-71 warhead was really odd, in addition to being big. It was designed to produce vast quantities of X-rays and very little in the way of Gamma Rays and fission byproducts to prevent EMP or contamination since it was intended to be used in large numbers over the US and Canada in the event of a missile attack. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:31 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 I hadn't realized the ABM warheads were so large.  And if I'd seen that footage in a movie, I'd criticize the "fake" CGI.  I had no idea the ground over such a wide area would be affected.

Posted by: Siergen at Mon Jan 25 21:45:31 2016 (De/yN)

2 The early ABM warheads were not, but this was orders of magnitude larger as it was intended to detonate in space and so it was designed to kill with a pulse of X-rays. I understand this was the inspiration for project Xcalibur a decade later (the bomb pumped x-ray laser).

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Jan 25 21:55:15 2016 (AaBUm)

3 "And let me the cannikin clink, clink...."

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Sat Jan 30 17:44:33 2016 (ZJVQ5)

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