Grim's Hall

Nuclear Test?

By now everyone's heard that the DPRK may have detonated an atomic weapon, although the US gov't and ROK gov't are both denying it. It's possible that it was non-nuclear: the DPRK may be trying to sort out what kind of bunker they need to contain an underground nuclear test. The US gov't did several similar tests with conventional explosives out in the desert back during the Manhattan project, as I recall -- they took a rough estimate of the explosive power from the scientists, loaded that much TNT into a hole, and blew it up.

Several people are pointing to the mushroom cloud that was reported. Well, here's a picture of last week's explosion in Jakarta:

If you get a big enough explosion, even with conventional explosives, you'll get something shaped in this fashion. It has to do with the way the air is pushed and heated by the blast (forming the cap of the "mushroom," which rises, being hot). Cool air rushes in below, drawn into the partial vacuum created both by the explosion's push, and by the rapid rise of the heated air. That keeps the stem of the mushroom slender, and helps drive the cap even higher.

Of course, instead of a test, this could be one of several other things: an uncontrolled explosion at an underground facility, an assassination attempt (that was what the official state media finally settled upon as the cause of the railway explosions), &c.

Still, Grim's Hall has been predicting a DPRK nuclear test for nearly as long as Grim's Hall has been on the internet. Their progress is slower than I've expected.

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