Today, everything seems quiet in the remote Bikini Atoll, a coral reef island chain in the central Pacific Ocean. But more than 70 years ago, the region's seabed was shaken by powerful atomic bombs detonated by the American army.
For the first time, scientists have published amazingly detailed maps of this pockmarked seabed, discovering two truly massive craters. This new map shows that the seabed is cracked by 22 bombs detonated on Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958.
The map was presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
During the 1946 nuclear test known as Operation Crossroads, the US wanted to test the effects of nuclear bombs on warships. To this end, the army assembled over 240 ships - some of which were German and Japanese - that contained varying amounts of fuel and ammunition, and then detonated two nuclear bombs to destroy them.
During the trials, Trembanis said, comedian Bob Hope grimly joked:
"As soon as the war was over, we found the only place on Earth that was not affected by the war, and blew it up to hell."