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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Operation Crossroads: Bikini Atoll

 

Plus 25 Seconds
Grant Powers #16
Watercolor, 1946
88-181-P

 

An illustration comparing the cloud to the size of the atoll.

 

Atomic Burst
Grant Powers #19
Watercolor, 1946
88-181-S

 

The full formation of the BAKER cloud only reached a height of 10,000 feet, significantly less than ABLE's cloud. The blast column did reach to the floor of the lagoon--some 200 feet deep--and spewed bits and pieces of coral on the decks of the target fleet.

 

The Baker Bomb at Bikini
Charles Bittinger #1
Oil on canvas, 1946
Gift of the artist
95-129-A

 

The cloud at its peak, showing the water column and the familiar cauliflower-shaped cloud of water vapor. Millions of gallons of water hung in the atmosphere, where they mixed with fission particles and became highly radioactive.

 

Atomic Bomb Explosion, Sub-Surface Blast
Charles Bittinger
Oil on canvas, 1946
Gift of Martha Burroughs
66-364-A

 

Another view of the BAKER bomb. The color pattern was caused by coral and other debris sucked up from the bottom of the lagoon.

 

Late stage of Baker
Charles Bittinger #2
Oil on canvas, 1946
Gift of the artist
95-129-B

 

A dramatic view of the collapsing cloud raining millions of gallons of radioactive water over the target fleet, throughly contaminating both the warships and the lagoon. For several hours after the explosion a fine mist rained down over the area.

 

Sinking of the Saratoga
Arthur Beaumont #7
Watercolor, 1946
Gift of the artist
88-169-G


Although the Navy mounted an extraordinary effort to save USS Saratoga (CV-3), the warship was too contaminated to conduct extensive damage control procedures and she eventually sank. One of the legends of the Pacific war, her loss was keenly felt by the officers and men of Operation Crossroads.

 



Sinking of the Saratoga
Grant Powers #17
Watercolor, 1946
88-181-Q

 

USS Saratoga (CV-3) quietly slipped below the waves, eventually resting upright on the bottom of the lagoon where she could be seen from the surface.

 

Arc Dock Survived Both Bombs
Arthur Beaumont #10
Watercolor, 1946
Gift of the artist
88-169-J


Because concrete buildings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki withstood atomic explosions better than other building material, a concrete repair dock (ARDC) was brought to Bikini to test how reinforced concrete could withstand an atomic explosion. The minor damage it suffered proved its durability.

 

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01 August 2001