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Nuclear Test Explosion Database Map

Nuclear Test Explosion Database Map

Few know of the untold human and environmental damage caused by the “Cold War.” Ask anyone, “How many nuclear bombs have exploded?” and most will respond “Two, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”  Since World War II, over 2,000 nuclear explosions have rocked our land, water, skies, and heavens.  The Nuclear Test Explosion Map and related videos below will show you little known world of nuclear deterrence and will grow (in the future, check back for updates) to include information on the victims of radioactive plumes associated with these tests.

“Nuclear testing database” Initially compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston

Recompiled and updated by Lyle McElhaney, [email protected] Version 3.3 (1 Jan 2012) for Google Earth, submitted to the GEC

Includes locations for known nuclear detonations, known zero-yield events (safety tests, hydronuclear/subcritical tests), and anomalies, including known chemical tests in test areas. Markers show atmospheric nuclear detonations (purple), underground nuclear detonations (orange), and zero-yield events (blue). Three sizes for clear detonation markers indicate yield ranges: less than 20 kt; 20-999 kt; and 1 Mt or greater. Also includes nuclear test site boundaries and some craters, and points of interest. Multiple detonations within a single nuclear test are shown separately.

Based on listings from ● (databases © 2001-2009 by W. R. Johnston) and amended by Lyle McElhaney ● Created by lmctke ● Further amended by Jim Lee, 2013

This map includes:

  • Nuclear detonations:
    • with associated chemical explosions
    • with cancellations and abortions
  • Project Plowshare:
    • without associated chemical explosions
    • without cancellations and abortions
  • Vela Uniform associated tests


Icon Description
Nuclear Explosion Nuclear Explosion
Aerial or High Altitude Explosion Aerial or High Altitude Explosion
“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” - Carl Sagan

“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” – Carl Sagan

Mutual Assured Destruction

Mutual assured destruction, or mutually assured destruction (MAD), is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of both the attacker and the defender,[1] becoming thus a war that has no victory nor any armistice but only effective reciprocal destruction. It is based on the theory of deterrence according to which the deployment, and implicit menace of use, of strong weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use of the same weapons by the enemy against oneself. The strategy is effectively a form of Nash equilibrium in which neither side, once armed, has any rational incentive either to initiate a conflict or to disarm (presuming neither side considers self-destruction an acceptable outcome). Source: wikipedia

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