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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Project Faultless, NV

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
NV > Vegas
no permit
19 1 0
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 1,862 feet
Elevation Gain 25 feet
Accumulated Gain 136 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.68
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Historic
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
19  2012-06-25 PaleoRob
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 216
Photos 5,948
Trips 1,080 map ( 2,419 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Aug, Sep, Jul → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  4:20am - 7:13pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

It's a Blast!
by PaleoRob

Likely In-Season!
In the early 1960's, the United States and the Soviet Union (along with the other nuclear-weapons powers at the time, England, Russia, and China) had come to an agreement to cease testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. While this was fine and dandy, the respective countries wanted to still test their weapons, both large and small. In the United States, tests were conducted primarily at the Nevada Test Site (near Las Vegas, Nevada), and the Pacific Testing Area (in the south Pacific Ocean). The atmospheric test ban accelerated existing underground nuclear weapons testing. In the United States, the Atomic Energy Commission began searching for a testing location further removed from a large population center such as Las Vegas, Nevada. After searching several desert valleys in central Nevada, the AEC settled on the Hot Creek Valley as the location of its new "Central Nevada Test Area." On January 19th of 1968 a one megaton nuclear weapon was exploded 3,000 feet below the surface of the valley floor. This was supposed to prove the effectiveness of the CNTA, but instead the Project Faultless test was much less than a success. There was over a dozen feet of ground movement above the detonation, and a huge surface rupture (a fault, some might say) was formed by the collapse of the underground cavity created by the explosion. This vented radioactive material into the atmosphere. It was judged by the AEC that the area was unsuitable for multimegaton blasts and the CNTA was essentially abandoned in favor of testing back at the NTS and remote islands in Alaska.

Now the Project Faultless site is one of the few places in the United States where you can visit ground zero of a nuclear explosion. Parking is easy at the drill location where the weapon was lowered into the drill hole, and you can wander at will across the site. Note the escarpment nearby - this is actually the "fault" formed by the ground collapse. Some areas of contaminated soil are being reclaimed - do not cross any fences or signed boundaries. It is also illegal to take rocks, plants, or any samples of anything from within 3,000 feet of the drill hole. You don't want to go home contaminated!

The area is beautiful in its own right, with plenty of classic Great Basin vistas. Take your time exploring the site, and then return to your car. While camping is theoretically allowed in the area, I would advise against camping in or near the test area.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2009-11-30 PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Tonopah, NV, head east on US6. After passing Warm Springs, continue for another 25.5 miles. There will be a signed turn-off for Lunar Crater to the right. Instead of turning right, turn left and proceed for another 12 miles. There will be a stop sign at the end of the 12 miles. Go straight past the stop sign for 2.5 miles until reaching the monument at Ground Zero.
    page created by PaleoRob on Nov 30 2009 10:44 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

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