Soil Evidence / The Bomb

The most destructive man-made force is the nuclear bomb. This force puts its evidential footprint into the ground and as it turned out it comes with its own resourceful solutions to make up for its viciousness. Paradoxically (and even more suspiciously) the planet itself seems to respond to the man-made invention in a very human dialogue, which lets us assume that there has been some secret agreement between men and nature.

The planet responds.
Curiously the nuclear bomb is triggering nature to grow various botanical species at the side where a bomb dropped, as John Hersey pointed out in his book “Hiroshima”: Over everything-up through the wreckage of the city, in gutters, along the riverbank, tangled among tiles and tin roofing, climbing on charred tree trunks – was a blanket of fresh, vivid, lush, optimistic green; the verdancy rose even from the foundations of ruined houses. Weeds already hid the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the city’s bones. The bomb had not only left the underground organs of the plants intact; it had stimulated them.

The Most famous protagonist of botanical live after the bomb is probably the Epilobium Angustifolium or more commonly named fireweed as it attains its greatest growth in clearings or recently burned land.

From Flora of London Bombed Sites 1950, a collection at the Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum London

Within this context it seems necessary to mention the recent discussions about the Anthropocene, a new scientific chronological term that eventually should be accepted in the official geologic time line. It serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. Though it has not yet being decided on when the Anthropocene started, the first nuclear detonation has been often referred to as the initial starting point of the Anthropocene.

It seems consequential then that nature was celebrating the beginning of a new epoch with an enormous field of flowers. The Trinity test side, the first nuclear bomb, was 330m wide.

A more concrete evidence that the human species has cooperated with the physical world can be found in the very soil beneath us as well. It is the formation of a new mineral that was born during the blast when the desert sand fused with nuclear fallout to produce the so called Trinitite.

Apparently there has been a lot of counterfeit specimens of Trinitie on the market. So be sure to have a certificate of measured radiation and authenticity included with your Trinitite samples.

Radioactive mineral specimens can be purchased from Mineralogical Research Co. or United Nuclear
Picture courtesy: Sharon Cisneros