Open Site Navigation

From solo exhibition: Daughters of Uranium, 2019-2020

Trinitite samples (x25), 2018 [Collection of the artist; gift from Cammy Montoya, WSMR]

Rubble gathered at Hiroshima Castle, 2007 [Collection of the artist]

Pairing material residues from the two key sites of the birth of the atomic age – Trinity, New Mexico, and Hiroshima, Japan – this work considers scientific advancement and its human toll.

 

Trinitite is the glassy residue left on the desert floor after the plutonium-based Trinity atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945, near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The mineral was formed when sand and debris were drawn up inside the fireball by the force of the blast, before raining down as molten radioactive glass. “Contained within the glass are melted bits of the first atomic bomb’s support structures and various radionuclides formed during the detonation… Air transport of the melted material led to the formation of spheres and dumbbell shaped glass particles. Similar glasses are formed during all ground level nuclear detonations and contain forensic information that can be used to identify the atomic device.” (Eby, Hermes et al., Geology Today, 2010). 

Traces of trinitite can be found at the Trinity site today, although most of it was cleared in 1953 by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. It is now illegal to remove material from the site; however, material removed prior to the prohibition is still in the hands of collectors.

TRINITY | HIROSHIMA

MARY KAVANAGH   © 2023 Mary Kavanagh