5 Things You Should Know About Nuclear Fallout

4. Location Plays A Big Part

Wikimedia Commons

Another influence on the severity of fallout is where the detonation occurred, whether at ground level in a 'ground burst' or in midair as an 'air burst'. The ground burst would be the worst case scenario as the fallout will be augmented by the addition of extra displaced soil.

The air burst, however, becomes more cloud-like more quickly; and without large material to become irradiated, the particles tend to be finer and linger in the upper atmosphere for longer until finally coming down, by which time the materials have been diluted by the sheer amount of space they occupy. Both ground and air bursts are bad, just one is very slightly worse.

The range and scope of fallout is also affected by the type of area in which it occurs. In urban centres with high building density the fallout will settle relatively close to the blast location. In wide open locations, such as deserts or remote islands in Micronesia, there are fewer barriers to prevent the particles from spreading across a broader area.

Wind also play a big part into determining the locations most affected by fallout, as the wind can carry particles in whatever direction it happens to be blowing so the people most in danger from the more immediate effects of fallout will be those downwind from the blast.

Posted On: 

Wesley Cunningham-Burns hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.