You’ll know when you get to Ground Zero at Trinity Site. It’s marked by the twelve-foot tall lava rock obelisk you see above. The Gadget was hoisted atop a 100-foot/30-meter “shot tower” above this precise location for the July 16, 1945 test. The Gadget was a plutonium device that was the basis for the Fat Man device dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. There’s even a replica of Fat Man onsite:
Remember Jumbo from Monday’s blog post? Pictured below is a plaque explaining all about this $12,000,000 piece of discarded steel, with photos of Jumbo intact and with its nine-inch plates bonded over the six-inch thick inner container. The 214-ton Jumbo was hoisted beneath a 30-foot/9-meter tower some 2,600 feet/800 meters from the shot tower. Jumbo survived the explosion relatively intact.
Should you think your visit to Trinity Site will be a lonely one then you’re in for a shock. There were hundreds of vehicles parked beyond the chain link fence that cordons off the area, and many hundreds of people milling about.
You’ll notice visitors strolling around the perimeter fence. They’re perusing small photo plaques describing the events leading up to the Trinity explosion and what occurred here that day. I’ll be presenting to you photos of these plaques on Friday and next Monday. The buses in the background of the below photograph transport visitors to the nearby McDonald Ranch, which you’ll get to see in next Wednesday’s blog post.
This is a closeup of the Trinity Site Obelisk and its plaque:
Until Friday I leave you with one more image of Fat Man that will give you an idea of the size of this 10,300-pound/4,670-kilogram device: