Sometimes, a clever visual can illustrate something better than any list or history book. That’s the case with this bleak, thought-provoking animation of all of the 2,153 nuclear detonations that have occurred since 1945.
The visualization was put together by Orbital Mechanics, a group of electronic musicians and visual artists. CityLab’s John Metcalfe writes that the trio wanted to commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the “Trinity” test, a plutonium bomb trial run that preceded the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. (You can read a fascinating — and chilling — account of the test here.)
The animation includes a key which points out the date, name, nationality, weight and location of each bomb tested. Atmospheric explosions are colored red, underground explosions yellow and underwater explosions blue.
This isn't the first time someone has made an animation like this. In 2003, Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto made a similar illustration of all the nuclear explosions between 1945 and 1998.