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Nuclear Detonation Sways Tall Buildings in Las Vegas

July 08, 1988|From Times Wire Services

LAS VEGAS — A nuclear weapons test detonated beneath the Nevada desert Thursday swayed high-rise buildings here, 100 miles from Ground Zero, and registered 5.6 on seismographs.

The device was detonated 40 miles from Mercury, a tiny town on the Nevada Test Site where Soviet nuclear scientists are based while preparing for a joint U.S.-Soviet test next month.

It was the eighth announced U.S. nuclear weapons test this year at the Nevada Test Site, and the fifth since Soviet scientists arrived in Nevada.

The nuclear weapon, code named "Alamo," was buried 2,000 feet beneath Pahute Mesa, a 5,000-foot-high volcanic plateau in a remote area of the test site. The U.S. and Soviet verification test will also be conducted beneath Pahute Mesa.

The Department of Energy warned southern Nevada residents three days in advance that earth motion from the test might be felt outside the boundaries of the Nevada Test Site.

Las Vegas construction and maintenance workers on high-rise buildings were told not to be in a precarious position at blast time.

Energy Department spokesman Chris West said the test appeared to be normal, with no indications of any problems. West, who was in a control center 25 miles from Ground Zero, said monitors at the site indicated no radiation had escaped the ground.

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