Trinitite from Trinity Site


Don't steal the trinitite

Don’t steal the trinitite

Trinitite is the glassy substance that resulted from the atomic bomb test at Trinity Site, White Sands Missile Range, on July 16, 1945.  It’s somewhat rare, hard to get hold of, and illegal to acquire directly from Trinity Site.  If you want a legal piece, you must acquire it from someone who collected a sample before trinitite harvesting from Trinity Site became illegal way back in the 1950s.

Plaque explaining radiation levels at Trinity Site — Yes, it's L-O-W

Plaque explaining radiation levels at Trinity Site — Yes, it’s L-O-W

Trinitite is composed mostly of the sand and earth that was fused together during the blast, but samples may also contain remnants of The Gadget, the shot tower, and even the instruments used to measure the effects of the explosion.

Shot Tower footings still evident

Shot Tower footings still evident

If you’re determined to own a piece of trinitite be prepared to spend some money on it, and especially watch out for fake pieces floating around the market.

Trinitite Viewing

Trinitite Viewing

If you just want to view some trinitite you’re in luck.  There is quite a collection on display when Trinity Site is open to the public.

Samples of trinitite on view at Trinity Site

Samples of trinitite on view at Trinity Site

Those wanting to own a piece can acquire one at the Blanchard Rock Shop (website link; Facebook page link) on U.S. Highway 380 some seventeen miles east of the Stallion Gate entrance to White Sands Missile Range, or twenty-nine miles east of the Interstate 10 exit at San Antonio, New Mexico where we began this adventure.  It is from Blanchard that I acquired my own piece of trinitite several years ago, before we made this journey to Trinity Site October 3, 2015.

Most genuine trinitite will have a pebbly surface on one side and a smooth, glassy-looking appearance on the opposite side.  The smooth surface is the area that directly faced the full wrath of the explosion, whereas the pebbly side faced away from the intense nuclear fireball.

Here is a view of the rough side of my personal example of trinitite:

Trinitite owned by the author

Trinitite owned by the author

And here is the glassy surface:

Trinitite owned by the author

Trinitite owned by the author

I hope you enjoyed our visit to Trinity Site, the McDonald Ranch, and a showing of trinitite samples.  As I said at the beginning of this two-week series, the reason I interrupted the series on our Chile-to-Los Angeles cruise was because of the upcoming April 2 Trinity Site Open House.  Starting next Monday we’ll continue our excursion along the South, Central, and North American coast with a look at our next destination beyond Paracas, Chile and Islas Ballestas — Lima, Peru.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

One response to “Trinitite from Trinity Site

  1. Pingback: Trinity, Jumbo, and The Gadget - Page 2 - WaltherForums