Collapse at Ground Zero

Initially, the test seemed routine. At 9 a.m., Department of Energy (DOE) engineers detonated a nuclear bomb 1,168 ft. beneath the arid landscape of the Rainier Mesa at the Nevada test site 93 miles northwest of Las Vegas. About three hours later, after instruments detected no radiation at the site, workers in white coveralls returned to trailers near the blast area to begin collecting data. They had just started to snip the 150 cables connected to underground sensors when the earth gave way. "I felt the earth shake, and before I knew it I was standing on my head," said J....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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