I should not be so surprised to see a memento of the most horrific bomb ever conceived by man sitting in a mineral and gem museum. I am, after all, only 30 miles from the site of the first atomic bomb explosion.
During my brief stay in an area of New Mexico known to the early Spanish explorers as “Jornada del Muerto” (Route of the Dead Man, because of the lack of water in the area) I visited the Mineral Museum at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.
Meandering around, looking in the glass cases I saw copper, malachite, amethyst, quartz. Beautiful colors and shapes of gems and mineral formed by the extreme forces of nature.
Sitting in an unobtrusive corner of one case was a small paper box and a greenish mineral. Quiet evidence of the first atomic bomb explosion.
The incredible heat generated by the bomb pulled several tons of sand up into its vortex, liquified it into a green glass substance and spewed it back onto the desert floor where it hardened into what is now called Trinitite.
It was July 16, 1945. The bomb was deemed a success and later used to help end WWII.
People who saw the Trinity Atomic Bomb Test Site site days after the bomb exploded described the desert area as transformed into what looked like a green glass sea. Some pieces of the Trinitite were taken as souvenirs.
The area has since been bulldozed. No evidence of the Trinitite remains except for specimens in museums and maybe private collections.
What amazes me is that a trip to a mineral museum, a mundane afternoon adventure could yield such a wealth of information and evidence of both mining the earth’s treasures and the beginning of the atomic age.
See you on down the road!