The American state of Nevada is most famous as being the home of Las Vegas, the pleasure capital of the world, but its empty stretches of deserts die a darker history. These incredible LIFE pictures by Loomis Dean capture the aftermath of a 1955 nuclear test designed to find out what manner of destruction an atomic bomb could reap on everything from homes, to canned food.
A small town populated by mannequins was erected and Loomis was right at the forefront as investigators inspected the effects of the bomb. His pictures have a winsome, straightforward beauty but also they unsettlingly echo a time – at the height of the Cold War – when humankind’s annihilation was a constant presence and exercises like this, as the excellent _LIFE _write-off pints out, were considered “routine.”
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