Nuclear weapons weren’t always intended to wipe entire countries off the map. In the early days of nuclear testing, the power of nukes was intended to aid in task like mining.
Here’s the story behind this particular video of a nuclear weapon taking down a sizable chunk of earth.
The planet-melting sinkhole is the result of loose, dry soil compacting – in this case – after an underground explosion. In the video above, you’re actually watching two processes unfold. First, as the layers beneath the surface lose their stability, the upper layers of fine sediment collapse into the cavity formed by the blast. This downward “confining” is then followed by the reverse: an upwards-and-outwards plume of soil that’s generated as gas expands into the atmosphere.
It looks scary, but you might be surprised to find out that subsidence is actually a very natural phenomenon. The same thing happens when large amounts of groundwater are removed (or evaporate) from fine sediments, because that water is partly responsible for holding the ground up.
Here’s a photo of the aftermath courtesy of USGS.
Unfortunately, the world is a scary place, and all that nuclear energy was harnessed to keep other countries in line.