LAS VEGAS — A major nuclear weapons test was detonated in the Nevada desert today, sending shock waves that registered 5.6 on the Richter scale.
The test, which had an explosive punch of up to 150,000 tons of TNT, was the 19th announced U.S. shot since the Soviet Union began a unilateral test moratorium Aug. 6, 1985.
"We felt considerable ground motion," said Department of Energy spokesman Jim Boyer, who was stationed at a concrete control point 12 miles from ground zero. "My chair began to move and I had to pause to get a better grip on the desk. The ground motion from this one rates fairly high up the line."
No damage was reported at the control point, Boyer said.
The National Earthquake Information Center in Boulder, Colo., reported that the test measured 5.6 on the Richter scale, one of the higher readings for nuclear tests. A measurement of 5.6 would be equivalent to an earthquake capable of causing considerable damage in inhabited areas.