My Radioactive Vacation

Welcome to Trinity Site (90,147 bytes)
Trinity Site outer perimeter fence

In October 1998 I took a vacation to visit the Trinity Site in South-Central New Mexico. This is where the United States exploded the World's first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945. The site is open to the public two days each year, the 1st Saturday in April and October.

Since an atomic bomb was exploded here, there is not much to see in the traditional tourist sense. There is a rather shallow depression several hundred feet across, a simple monument at ground zero, a Fat Man type bomb casing, a few bits of concrete left from the shot tower footings and the ranch house where the Plutonium core was assembled.

One thing that does remain from this test is radioactivity. This was the most interesting aspect of the site to me so I purchased a Geiger counter to measure what radiation is still present. I couldn't be satisfied with simply reading a few numbers so I built a simple hand-held computer to record the data so I could map the radiation within the fenced ground zero area. One thing led to another and I added a GPS receiver. With the setup I could then map where I went during the entire trip and plot the background radiation along the way. Thus, this became my radioactive vacation.

This site is broken into five parts. The first describes the instruments I used in more detail. The second shows the route I took based on the GPS output overlaid on a shaded relief map of Texas and New Mexico. This section also contains the radiation history for the entire trip. The third section contains a few photographs taken at Trinity Site. The next includes three more pairs of photos. For these images I tried to duplicate some of the 1945 photos to show how things have changed. Each photo pair is a comparison of 1945 to 1998. The last section includes my radiation map of the Trinity Site.

Instrumentation (4557 bytes) Radiation plot (4197 bytes) Photos (2676 bytes) Crater (4003 bytes) Radiation map (4774 bytes)
Instrumentation Vacation Radiation Trinity Site Photos Trinity Site Then and Now Trinity Site Radiation

Return to Home Page Latest update: May 6, 2006