Seventy years ago, on July 16 1945, the first nuclear weapon was tested in the desert near Alamogordo New Mexico. Known as “Trinity,” this test was the culmination of the Manhattan Project, which ultimately led to the end of WWII. The Plutonium implosion device called “The Gadget” was placed at the top of a 100-foot tower. 

At 5:30 in the morning on July 16, the device exploded producing a blast which sent a mushroom cloud over 38,000 feet into the sky and released energy that was equivalent to twenty thousand pounds of TNT.  This near instantaneous release of the binding energy that holds matter together generated heat as much as 10,000 times hotter than the surface of the sun. The heat could be felt by observers who were stationed over 10 miles away from the tower.

William Kolb, author of “Trinitite - The Atomic Age Mineral” (see below) points out that the distribution of Eu-152 around Ground Zero indicates most Trinitite resulted from vaporized sand that condensed into drops and rained down to the blast area as small puddles. He further writes that the crater itself was barren of Trinitite and that Trinitite actually fell beyond the rim of the 200 meter crater.

In 1952, the test site was bulldozed over by the Atomic Energy Commission. The only Trinitite on the market today was collected prior to 1952. The Trinitite below was collected by the former Los Compadres rock shop in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico in the 1940’s. Trinitite contains traces of the fission products Cesium 137, Cobalt 60 and Americium 241 and remains mildly radioactive.

In general, Trinitite samples are smooth on the side exposed to the extreme heat of the blast, and have a coarse sand texture on the reverse side. All samples are shipped by USPS Priority Mail and come with a card that describes the origin of Trinitite, and the specific weight and radioactivity of the samples purchased. 

Trinitite: The Atomic Age Mineral, by William M. Kolb.


Trinitite: The Atomic Age Mineral. Copyright © William M. Kolb, 2015

This book is the most comprehensive work on Trinitite available today. In 128 pages, the author covers a wide range of topics including the formation of Trinitite, ground zero before and after the detonation, the radioactivity of Trinitite and proper care and handling of the mineral. The book has dozens of color and black & white photos of the minerals and the test site, and detailed examinations of the characteristics of Trinitite. Written by the author of the well-known book "Living With Radiation: The First 100 Years” this is a must-read for anyone interested in Trinitite. 

Price: $28. To purchase, contact the publisher directly at Trinitite: The Atomic Age Mineral

Trinitite Specimen #12


Size: 4 x 3 x 2 cm. Weight: 12.8 grams

Surface Radioactivity: 2,000 CPM

Price: $500 Shipping $15.

Trinitite Specimen #21



Size: 4.5 x 3 x 1 cm. Weight: 8.9 grams

Surface Radioactivity: 2,000 CPM

Price: $400 Shipping $15.

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