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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Trinitite or Alamogordo Glass

By July 15, 2013

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Trinitite or Alamogordo Glass (Shaddack)This pretty green glass formed as a result of the Trinity Nuclear Test near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Although it is radioactive, it is safe to handle and valued by collectors. Chemically, trinitite is mostly fused sand, or silicon dioxide. It is quartz with feldspar and various impurities.

While you might think Trinity or any atomic bomb would simply glass over the surface, it's theorized trinitite formed when sand was sucked up into the nuclear fireball and fell as molten glass, like extremely hot radioactive rain.

The desert sand formed green trinitite. Black trinitite contains iron from the metal tower constructed for the test, while extremely rare red trinitite gets its coloring from the actual device or the cables that led away from it. It's illegal to remove trinitite from the test site, but there is material in circulation that was taken before the prohibition.


October 13, 2011 at 7:18 am
(1) Jamie says:

It is cool to see that even from destructive forces something beautiful can be formed.

May 1, 2013 at 10:56 am
(2) goro says:

r u stupid?
what beautiful do u see on melted / stiffened silicon, even it is radioactive?

go to any local metalurgic fabric, there are tons of similar stuff…

September 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm
(3) Anti-Morons says:

Jamie, I am with you… the only stupid is Goro who cannot appreciate the beauty in the value of Human History.

September 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm
(4) Suomi says:

There is not “tons of similar stuff” created at the incredible temperatures
that Trinitite was, as few things in existence were created at nuclear fusion temperatures…

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