Just over 29,00 feet, the bomb fell from a plane and exploded 1,900 feet overhead the Shima Hospital. This was an active medical center that has a history going as far back as the 18th century. Approximately five miles of buildings were flattened by the blast which was generated by 141 pounds of greatly enriched uranium. An estimated 70,000 people lost their lives on the 6 August 1945 in just the initial blast as well as resulting fires and the radiation burst but the death toll after 5 years may have been over 200,000 people.
Japan was told by President Harry Truman to surrender or to expect a rain of ruin, unlike anything that has been seen on this earth before. Just three days later, the next bomb fell over Nagasaki. This time, the bomb was plutonium based, and the death toll was estimated at 40,000 immediately and 140,000 after 5 years.
These are the only cases so far that are known where human beings attacked other people with nuclear weapons. The survivors of the attacks are the only known people to carry the marks of this nuclear warfare on their bodies. This is the period that left the images of sky-piercing, bright mushroom clouds.
An Era in Time
During this era, hundreds of these bombs were ignited in the open air and in the ocean during the testing phases while thousands were tested underground.
The Partial Test Ban treaty in 1963 had to put a stop to American and Soviet explosions that were exposed. China and France then continued their atmospheric tests until 1980. The only country that has detonated a weapon currently in the 21st century is North Korea.
The biggest advantage and disadvantage in nuclear explosions is that it produces rare radioactive substances like carbon 14. This makes it devastating to any energy that it is used on but makes it overwhelming to anyone who comes into contact with it.
Once it has been released in the atmosphere, the carbon 14 enters into the food chain and gets absorbed up in cells of living things. There is still enough of it floating around to be in the DNA of human beings that are born in 2016.
It turns out that this is actually helpful to scientists. The bomb pulse means, the remains in the atmosphere made its way through everything including plants and into the food web. Every second it decays more and more which will leave less in the atmosphere. Every time a new cell is created, it will have less carbon 14 in it than the cells before. That decline proceeds slowly in a predictable way.
Scientists have used this method to try and predict what the age of the individual cells is. They will extract DNA from cells and measure the carbon 14 levels with a mass spectrometer and compare it to tables of carbon 14 decay since the 1963 period. The technique has also been used to follow the progress of cancers as well as the understanding of diabetes and obesity and then lastly to prove that the brain cells do continue to form throughout a person’s lifetime.