The Manhattan Project research wielded two elements as prime subjects for a nuclear fission reaction: uranium and plutonium. Both fuels were very expensive and very rare. Plutonium was not as scarce as uranium but plutonium was not as fissionable. So they created an experimental plutonium fission bomb to test their design (Bracchini 1).
This test bomb was codenamed 'Gadget’ (Bracchini 1). Eight sites were proposed and evaluated for the test of the bomb. There were five main criteria for a perfect test site: flat land, calm weather, non-populated, relatively close to Los Alamos and, lastly, the site had to be fairly isolated (Trinity). Alamogordo, New Mexico, was chosen to be the test site. The Gadget was placed in Jornada del Muerto, a desert valley between the Rio Grande river and the Sierra Oscura mountains. It was detonated at precisely 5:29:45 AM (Mountain War Time) on July 16, 1945 (Sublette). The estimated power of the blast was about 100 tons of TNT. In reality, the blast had an equivalent power of 20,000 tons of TNT (Sublette). Nuclear blasts, at this time, had an effective radii of around three miles (Sublette). The magnitude of the blast was so powerful that a blind girl one hundred twenty miles away saw the blast (Bellis 1).
Three years after the official start of the project and after $2 billion in expenses, this successful test marked a giant leap in nuclear weapons development and would have an enormous consequence on the tide of the war (Sublette).
Bellis, Mary. “The History of the Atomic Bomb.” About (2000): 1. 7 July 2005 <http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa050300a.htm>.
Bracchini, Miguel. “Atomic Bomb Design.” The Manhattan Project (1997): 1. 7 July 2005 <http://www.me.utexas.edu/~uer/manhattan/bomb-design.html>.
“Trinity.” 2005 The Los Alamos National Laboratory 28 July 2005. <http://www.lanl.gov/history/atomicbomb/trinity.shtml>
Sublette, Carey. "Trinity." The Nuclear Weapon Archive. 10 Dec. 2001. 14 Jul. 2005 <http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Trinity.html>.