Nevada Test Site

and Geology of
Northwestern Arizona and Southern Nevada
September 28-October 1 1995

The long-awaited Fall '95 semester trip was to the Nevada Test Site, a region in southern Nevada where nuclear bomb detonation testing was done above ground until the mid-60's, and continued underground until 1992. We compared the morphology and physics of explosion craters with those created on planetary surfaces by impacts and volcanoes. We investigated the physics of explosions, spallation, and crater formation, as well as learning how to make a bomb, how to deliver it, and what the biological effects might be. The geology of this Basin-and-Range region was explored by visiting the Las Vegas Shear Zone, the Valley of Fire park, and Red Lake Playa, as well as the NTS itself, and included discussions of pediment formation, caliche deposits, desert varnish, and extensional tectonics. Also on the slate were campfire talks about the history of the Manhattan Project and the progress of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, as well as a stop at Hoover Dam.

Pictures on these pages were taken by our NTS guide (inside the NTS), Ralph Lorenz, Josh, Dan, and Marco, and Prof. Hal Larson. There are 5 pages, some have 6-7 pictures, so they may take a while to download. Also, there are reports of these pages prompting error messages, but they don't do it all the time, so trying to reload at a less busy time may help. Please be patient!

For more atomic fun, visit the Bureau of Atomic Tourism!

Table of Contents:

  • Page 1: Thursday: Loading dock antics and geology Tucson-Las Vegas.
  • Page 2: Friday: Inside the NTS.
  • Page 3: Friday: History of the NTS.
  • Page 4: Saturday: Geology Las Vegas-Northern AZ, including the Valley of Fire and Red Lake Playa.
  • Page 5: Saturday: Hoover Dam, featuring the Top Ten Causes of Death in the Construction of Boulder Dam!

    Fashionable, yet functional protection from radiation hazards.
    Back Row: B Clark, V Converse, A Rivkin, C Schaller, R Lorenz, D Dawson, J Head, D. Dagget, H Larson, V Florinski, J. Hamilton , G Hoppa, B Bottke, J Emery, J Melosh, D Kring, D Durda. 
    Middle Row: E Wegryn, K Meyers, C Phillips. 
    Front Row: R Coker, J Grier, N Chabot, Z Turtle, E Pierazzo, B Cohen, D Trilling, M. Dominguez.