Nuclear bombs are most popular for their destructive capabilities.
Most nuclear bombs rely on splitting the atom, which produces mass obliteration for anything within the blast radius.
However, a team of geologists and physicists discovered that it could also lead to creation – remarkably, the transformation of stable crystalline structures into formerly unimaginable states of matter.
On the night of July 16, 1945, history was about to be written. A big bright mushroom cloud covered the skies of the New Mexican desert. It was the test of the Trinity bomb, the first detonation of an actual atomic bomb.
The blast literally vaporized a 90-foot tower where the bomb was placed, and made a green mess out of the surroundings. It also created an element known as glassy trinitite.
Most trinitite is green. There is also reg trinitite, as the atoms forming the copper wiring of the devices got involved in the blast.
The red trinitite resembles moldy steak.. sort of.
The team of researchers analyzed bits of the trinitite under an electron microscope to determine whether there are any notable structures present.
The study was just published. It speaks of a quasicrystal, which is a name for how the structure is disposed in space.
Crystals present periodic structures, meaning that their microscopic composition blocks repeat themselves at a specific rate. However, the building blocks present in quasicrystals don’t repeat regularly, thus adapting to asymmetric layouts that regular crystals are incapable of.
One structure of that kind is called the icosahedron. It is a 20-sided shape that looks a bit like a soccer ball.
Crystals don’t present icosahedra layouts on a micro-scale, and, up until recently, the general scientific consensus was that all matter was either glassy or crystalline. However, the quasicrystals are an exception to that.