Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Nuclear Weapon Testing Map

Earlier this month the Future of Life Institute partnered with NukeMap to create 1100 Declassified U.S. Nuclear Targets, an interactive map showing all U.S. nuclear targets around the world in 1956.

Of course the nuclear arms race didn't end in 1956. In fact the USA, Russia and many other countries around the world have continued to carry on developing their nuclear capabilities. One way of determining who is continuing to test nuclear weapons is by analyzing seismic records. Which is exactly what Blast Map has done.

Blast Map is a map showing underground nuclear tests carried out by countries across the globe since 1963. 1963 was the year the Partial Test Ban Treaty came into force, which prohibited all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. Using data from the Northern California Earthquake Data Center the map shows all seismic events which have been determined to be not geological in nature but were instead caused by either quarry blasting or nuclear testing.

Blast Map shows the location of these quarry blasts and nuclear tests around the world. The chart beneath the map shows the magnitude and date of each of the blasts. The chart and map are synchronized together so that the chart automatically updates to reflect the data in the current map view. You can also use the chart to refine the data shown on the map by range of magnitude and date.

The map sidebar provides links to significant nuclear testing events. For example, if you click on the 'Soviet Nuclear Archipelago' link you can view a map and chart view of soviet nuclear testing from 1964-1991. You can read a little more about the significance of these highlighted testing events and how the map was made on this Adventures in Mapping blog post.

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