As the prospect of nuclear weapons testing by nations like North Korea and Iran once again makes headlines, LIFE.com presents rare and (mostly)
unpublished pictures from the Nevada desert by photographer Loomis Dean
shortly after a 1955 atomic bomb test.
These are not "political" pictures. They are, instead, eerily beautiful,
unsettling photographs made at the height of the Cold War, when the
destructive power of any atomic blast was jaw-droppingly huge, but
positively miniscule compared to today's truly terrifying thermonuclear
weapons. In short, these pictures from more than half a century ago serve
as a quiet reminder of just how insane the very notion of nuclear warfare
Beginning in 1951, the United States exploded atomic bombs at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Seen here are snapshots of the tests that, in many cases, illuminated the Los Angeles and Las Vegas skies with a nuclear dawn. More at Amusing Planet.
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