Science: Sensitive Seismographs

As atomic explosions go, the recent Gnome test in New Mexico (TIME, Dec. 22) was relatively feeble. It generated only five kilotons of energy. But last week Chief Seismologist Leonard M. Murphy of the Coast and Geodetic Survey announced that Gnome's earth waves were recorded by seismographs near Tokyo, 6,000 miles away. Uppsala, Sweden (5,200 miles), Sodankyla, Finland (5,000 miles), and Fairbanks, Alaska (3,000 miles) also detected the explosion, and all the stations recorded the "first motion," the outward push that is characteristic of bomb waves and can distinguish them from natural earthquake waves.

The seismologists were well prepared; they had been...

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