Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Atomic Tourist, aka Fun with Google Maps

Filed under: — stan @ 5:01 pm

Google maps is great. Check this out:,-116.046867&spn=0.006287,0.007832&t=k&hl=en

It’s the crater from the 1962 ‘Sedan’ test at the Nevada Test Site. It was an experiment in ‘nuclear excavation’, aka digging big holes with atom bombs. This was all part of Project Plowshare, when they actually were considering using ‘nuclear excavation’ to cut a pass through the Bristol Mountains east of Barstow for soon-to-be-built Interstate 40. Fortunately, this was ultimately deemed a Bad Idea and was also precluded by the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

Scrolling south a bit, and zooming out, here is something else:,-115.936747&spn=0.053129,0.062656&t=k&hl=en

This is Frenchman Lake, which was the site of the 1957 Priscilla test. This was the test where they built bridges and buildings out on the dry lake bed to observe the effects of the blast on the structures. Sadly, Google doesn’t have the higher resolution satellite picture for this region, so we can’t see them in the lake bed.

If you zoom out a bit, you see this:,-116.059055&spn=0.100594,0.125313&t=k&hl=en

Every one of those divots in the earth is a subsidence crater left from an underground nuclear test. The Sedan crater is at the top of the image. If you grab the map with your mouse and scoot it around, you can find other valleys there that are also filled with nuclear divots.

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