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Nuclear Test Detonated in Nevada Desert

June 28, 1989|From the Associated Press

PAHUTE MESA, Nev. — A nuclear weapons test that had been delayed by fickle wind conditions rattled the Nevada desert Tuesday with an explosion more than 10 times the force of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The underground blast registered magnitude 4.6 at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., according to spokesman John Minsch.

Monitors atop high-rise hotels in Las Vegas, 100 miles from Ground Zero, registered the blast. But the readings were not as distinct as with some previous tests.

The test, code-named Amarillo, was the second major U.S. nuclear weapons test in six days. Energy Department officials deemed the latest blast a success.

The device was detonated 2,100 feet beneath the surface of Pahute Mesa on the sprawling desert test range at 8:30 a.m. and had an explosive force of up to 150,000 tons of TNT. The blast that destroyed Hiroshima had an explosive force of 13,000 tons of TNT.

Tuesday's test was originally scheduled for Saturday, then delayed several times throughout the day because of unfavorable wind conditions. The blast was rescheduled for Sunday, then delayed again for the same reason.

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