Project Rulison

Sep. 10 was the 50th anniversary of Project Rulison, which was an underground nuclear test conducted in Rulison, Colorado. Its purpose was to determine if a nuclear bomb, detonated underground, could be used to release natural gas.

The answer was, not really, because the bomb will radiate the gas, making it unusable.

But what gave the test extra weirdness was that a handful of protesters tried to stop it by placing themselves on top of it. As an article on CBS Denver notes:

They believed the scientists wouldn’t actually detonate the bomb if people were inside the closure area above, they were wrong.

The protesters survived, but I'm assuming they must be the only people to have ever been directly on top of a nuclear explosion who lived to tell about it.

An article on offers a few details about what it felt like to be in the blast zone:

"There was this great rumble, and we were lifted about six or seven inches off the ground," he recalls. "There were a whole bunch of tremors reverberating through the ground. People down below described seeing ripples flow through the earth, like a rock that had been tossed in a pond."

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 19, 2019
     Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | 1960s

Big deal - 40 kilotons. Now if it had been 40 Megatons, the protesters would have been on the moon, next to Alice Kramden.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 09/19/19 at 12:03 PM
"Baby, did the earth move for you?"

Notice the mention of hydraulic fracturing that had already taken place in the area. This method was essentially the same, just on a grander scale.

For the VICE article, I found that you have to go to the end of the linked article page for the link to the RULISON article. It confused me t first.
Posted by KDP on 09/19/19 at 01:28 PM
KDP -- thanks for catching the buggy link to the vice article. I think I fixed it. Looks like vice does weird things with its articles and URLs. As you scroll down the page a new article, and URL, automatically appears. I didn't realize that when I cut-and-pasted the link, and must have got the URL for the following article.
Posted by Alex on 09/19/19 at 02:05 PM
At the end of WWII, the crew of a Japanese observation plane had what I think was the ultimate experience of this sort. Sent to see what Bock's Car was doing, they arrived at Nagasaki just as the second A-bomb exploded directly ahead of them. With no time to turn, they wound up flying through the mushroom cloud. It was hot, dark and turbulent but they got out the other side and were able to land the plane. The three crewmen all suffered from cancer in later years but I doubt anyone else will perform their feat.
Posted by Phred22 on 09/19/19 at 08:00 PM
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