Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Nuclear Attack on Boston (Circa 1962)

Link to: Nuclear War 1962 (Alternate History)

In 1962 the New England Journal of Medicine published a paper describing the impact of a nuclear strike (20 megatons) on the Boston Metropolitan area.

Within 1/1000th of a second, a fireball envelops downtown Boston and reaches out for two miles in every direction from ground zero. Temperatures reach 20 million degrees Fahrenheit. People, buildings, cars, tress, everything within a two mile radius are vaporized. Winds in excess of 650 miles per hour roar outward to a distance of four miles, ripping apart and leveling everything. Ten miles from ground zero, the heat of the blast melts glass and sheet metal, and the 200 mile per hour winds flatten every house and business. The only things still standing are reinforced concrete buildings which are heavily damaged.

Sixteen miles from the center, the heat from the blast ignites houses, paper, clothes, leaves, gasoline, and heating fuel, starting hundreds of thousands of fires. The winds, still 100 miles per hour at this distance merge these fires into a giant firestorm thirty miles across that engulfs eight hundred square miles. The death rate is nearly one hundred percent. Thirty miles from ground zero the heat of the blast causes third degree burns on exposed skin. Even forty miles from the blast, anyone looking up at the sudden flash of light in the sky is instantly blinded. Ninety percent of the population would have been dead within one month of the attack.

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