Science: Big Bomb Waves

When the Soviet 50-megaton test-bomb exploded on Novaya Zemlya last October, it set the earth's whole atmosphere vibrating. Last week in London, Seismologists Eric Carpenter, George Harwood and Thomas Whiteside reported how the bomb waves looked when they were recorded on the microbarograph at Britain's Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.

The bomb exploded at 8:33 a.m. British time. By 11:44 a.m., the first air wave reached England, having taken 3 hr. 11 min. to travel from Novaya Zemlya at the speed of sound—about 700 m.p.h. At 4:40 p.m. on the next day, the barograph pen jiggled again, recording the air waves that had...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!