A hidden treasure, a startling discovery in the wreckage of the first atomic bomb test in 1945


The first nuclear bomb was tested on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site in New Mexico, without knowing that it would leave behind something that would one day aid in scientific research. Decades later, the hidden treasure was discovered, a quasi-crystal, a new form of matter that breaks the rules of classical crystalline materials.


The red substance was found in a mineral formed by the intense heat and pressure of the explosion of the atomic bomb, which melted sand into the glass and included traces of the molten tower and transmission wires.


This type of quasi-crystal was only observed in the meteorite Khatirka, which dates back at least hundreds of millions of years, which means that the type discovered in New Mexico is the oldest of its kind that was made by man.


Scientists believe that the newly discovered materials will help them better understand illegal nuclear explosions and reduce nuclear proliferation.


Terry Wallace, Honorary Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory said, these quasicrystals are remarkable in their complexity but nobody can tell us yet about why they formed this way. And maybe one day, a scientist or engineer will discover it and we'll have a thermodynamic explanation to create it. Then, I hope, we can use this knowledge to better understand nuclear explosions, and ultimately lead to a more complete picture of what a nuclear test represents.


The bomb, filled with 13 pounds of plutonium, wiped out everything in sight with its spectacular detonation of the equivalent of 21,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb was installed, from transmission wires and other testing devices, melted instantly from the explosion all of which formed into a newly discovered mineral called Trinity.


These minerals are usually green, but the mineral found in New Mexico has shades of red that range from bright to deep. The scientists suggest that the rare color may be the result of copper oxide from the transmission wires that have coalesced into the metal. Natural crystals include sugar, salt, and quartz, all of which are known as the periodic order - their atoms are arranged in a repeating pattern.


Semi-crystalline materials were first discovered in the 1980s and have an atomic structure like conventional crystals, but do not follow a repeating pattern.


Wallace, who co-authored the paper said, semi-crystalline materials form in extreme environments rarely found on Earth. It requires a traumatic event with severe shock, temperature, and pressure. We don't usually see it, except in something as dramatic as a nuclear explosion.


Further analysis showed that the quasicrystalline included elements such as silicon, copper, calcium, and iron, all of which "have not yet been synthesized in the laboratory. It is a sample of red trinitite, with a regular 20-sided solid known as decaphedron, which is a symbol for the element of water.


The conditions in which the quasi-crystal are formed are similar to what was observed in the Khatyrka meteorite, which is hundreds of millions of years old. Recall that engineers and military personnel met in the New Mexico desert in the pre-dawn hours of July 16, 1945, to conduct a top-secret operation, codename: Trinity. The aim of the mission was to detonate the world's first nuclear bomb.


After a delay of an hour, officials detonated the giant bomb at 5:29 a.m., followed by an intense flash of light and heat waves that spread across the wasteland. A huge fireball erupted in the sky accompanied by a thunderous sound that echoed throughout the valley of the Jornada del Muerto, or The Journey of the Dead Man.

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