The thunderous boom that some people near Los Alamos National Laboratory heard Wednesday was a detonation at a lab blast area.

It was one of several hundred explosions lab crews set off each year, but it was louder than usual this time. 

"While the vast majority of these [blasts] use small amounts of explosives, some are large enough to be heard off site,” lab spokesman Kevin Roark said in an email.

The lab conducts the controlled blasts under strict regulations and assesses atmospheric conditions to reduce the chance of “sound intrusions,” Roark said.

He didn’t say what the purpose of this blast was. But the lab often sets off explosive charges for research and tests, including to determine how effective a bomb detonator is.

(3) comments

Jay Coghlan

Those blasts are generally dynamic tests used to help develop new or modified nuclear weapons designs. While the blasts themselves are nonnuclear, they do usually involve uranium and/or depleted uranium and sometimes plutonium. Shrapnel from the blasts can be an environmental threat in the event of a wildfire (a not uncommon occurance at the Lab).

Jay Coghlan

Carlos Vasquez

we hear them a few times a year over on Tano... I wonder if there will be hindsight to worry about; or if the labs make us a target?

Ann Maes

Really?! You can hear the blasts in Abiquiu!

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