Nuclear tests: databases and other material--Johnston's Archive
Midas Myth/Milagro nuclear test, 1984
compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 6 November 2006
15 February 1984
Nevada Test Site, Nevada, USA
Type of event:
accident associated with collapse pit formation from underground nuclear test
At 17:00 UT (10:00 AM local time) an underground test was conducted at Rainer Mesa in the Nevada Test Site. The test, Midas Myth or Milagro, was designed to investigate weapon effects and involved a device with yield between 0 and 20 kt (likely closer to 20 kt) in a tunnel at a depth of 361 meters. Shortly after the test technicians went to equipment trailers at ground zero. While there, the column of rock above the test collapsed 3 hours, 13 minutes after detonation, causing the surface at ground zero to collapse into a crater 113 meters across and 5 meters deep. Such collapse pit formation, while typical for underground tests, was not expected so soon after detonation in this case. The collapse caused injuries to 15 personnel, one of whom later died of his injuries. In addition, the emplacement tunnel collapsed to a greater extent than expected, causing damage to experimental equipment. No radiation release occurred, and there was no personnel radiation exposure.
1 fatality, 14 injuries.
- Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office, Dec. 2000, United States Nuclear Tests: July 1945 through September 1992, U.S. DOE (Las Vegas, NV), on line at Nevada Site Office [http://www.nv.doe.gov/news&pubs/publications/historyreports/pdfs/DOENV209_REV15.pdf].
- Office of Technology Assessment, May 1988, Seismic Verification of Nuclear Testing Treaties, U.S. GPO (Washington, DC), on line at OTA Legacy [http://www.wws.princeton.edu/ota/disk2/1988/8838.html].
- Office of Technology Assessment, Oct. 1989, The Containment of Underground Nuclear Explosions, U.S. GPO (Washington, DC), on line at Nevada Site Office [http://www.nv.doe.gov/library/publications/historical/OTA-ISC-414.pdf].
- Sandia National Laboratories, July 1994, "Official list of underground nuclear explosions," on line at Nuclear Weapon Archive [http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Nevada.html].
- Springer, Donald L., Gayle A. Pawloski, Janet L. Ricca, Robert F. Rohrer, and David K. Smith, 2002, "Seismic source summary for all U.S. below-surface nuclear explosions," Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92:1806-1840.
- Yang, Xiaoping, Robert North, and Carl Romney, Aug. 2000, "CMR Nuclear Explosion Database (Revision 3)," on line, SMDC Monitoring Research [http://www.rdss.info/database/nucex/report/explosion.pdf].
© 2006 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 6 November 2006.
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