Monday, October 22, 2018

Planning for Nuclear Armageddon


There is nothing that Vladimir Putin would like more than to rip up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was signed by the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987. Actually there is one thing he would like more. He would love for the USA to unilaterally tear-up the treaty instead and let them face the diplomatic fallout from all the other countries in the world.

If you are worried about Trump's decision to restart the nuclear arms race then you might want to avoid these interactive maps which can show you the effects of a nuclear bomb falling on your house. Both NUKEMAP and Ground Zero allow you to view the potential damage that a wide choice of nuclear weapons would have when dropped on locations around the world. You can also use Outrider - Bomb Blast - which comes with far more realistic looking nuclear fallout effects.

Outrider - Bomb Blast allows you to choose from a range of different types of nuclear weapon and whether you want to detonate it at ground level or as an air burst. You can then view the likely damage on an interactive map. The map shows the likely radius of the fireball, radiation, shock-wave and heat. It also provides an estimate of the number of fatalities and injuries your nuclear weapon would cause.

If viewing these maps makes you depressed then make sure you don't look at Outrider's Nuclear Weapons section, which includes a series of articles exploring the history & human cost of nuclear weapons.


In 1945 the USA dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan, at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. To date they are the only nuclear weapons to have been used in combat. However there have been many other nuclear detonations since the end of World War II. You can view the locations of these nuclear weapons tests on Esri UK's Nuclear Detonations Since 1945 interactive map, showing every nuclear detonation since 1945.

In 1963 the Partial Test Ban Treaty came into force, which prohibited all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. Blast Map is an interactive map showing underground nuclear tests carried out by countries across the globe since 1963. 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 test sites 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.


One of the places where the most nuclear bombs have been tested is the Nevada Test Site. America's Nuclear Moonscape combines satellite views of the Nevada Test Site with a history of its use for nuclear weapon testing.

The Nevada Test Site was used between 1950 and 1992 to test over 1,000 nuclear explosions. The crater filled satellite imagery on this ESRI Story Map shows the effect of these nuclear tests on the landscape. The imagery is accompanied by a timeline explaining the history of testing at the site and showing the locations of some of the more important nuclear tests carried out here over the later part of the Twentieth Century.
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