Mushroom Cloud

A movie showing the mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion.

The mushroom cloud consists chiefly of very small particles of radioactive fission products and weapon residues, water droplets, and larger particles of dirt and debris carried up by the afterwinds. The color of the cloud is initially red or reddish brown, due to the presence of nitrous acid and oxides of nitrogen. As the fireball cools and condensation occurs, the color changes to white, mainly due to the water droplets as in an ordinary cloud.

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National Science FoundationNational Science Digital LibraryNuclear Pathways Member SiteThis project is part of the National Science Digital Library and was funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation Grant 0434253