The U.S. has declassified video records of its nuclear weapon tests from the atomic age, and if you’re curious to witness the destructive power of the bombs in our arsenal, you’ll need to take a trip over to YouTube. There, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has uploaded dozens of digitized nuclear weapon tests in an effort to preserve that historic and important footage.
As Livermore’s Greg Spriggs explains in an introductory video, the collection of nuclear test films are degrading, and by uploading them to YouTube, the lab can “obtain better data for future physicists” who would otherwise have no way to measure the above-ground impact of a nuclear weapon.
Even if you’re not a scientist, however, you can still be amazed by the awesome power of Cold War-era nuclear weapons. The explosions on display vary in shape and size, but most of them look like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Some commenters suggest watching at one-quarter speed to pick up the details.
These videos join the growing library of interesting archival footage on YouTube. Whether you’re interested in British history, the O.J. Simpson trial, or these test videos, the world’s top video site has you covered.