Since the end of World War II, the major world powers have detonated a steady stream of nuclear weapons. The map above by Bill Rankin of Radical Cartography shows the location and magnitude of the nearly 2,500 nukes that have been detonated since 1945, using data from Johnston’s Archive of Nuclear Weapons. More than 500 of these nukes were detonated in the atmosphere, sending fallout around the globe, says Rankin.
The filled circles indicate atmospheric detonations, while the hollow circles are underground or underwater tests. The size of the circle shows the yield of the blast, with the biggest circle representing explosions of more than 20 megatons.
The map shows that the U.S. was particularly active in underground detonations; the U.S. detonated 912 nuclear bombs underground, 206 in the atmosphere and five underwater. Most American tests took place at the Nevada test site or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Statistics for the USSR are close, with 223, 756 and three bombs detonated in the atmosphere, underground and underwater, respectively. The United Kingdom, France and China are distant followers with just a few hundred or dozen detonations. In the last several decades, India has detonated six nukes underground, while Pakistan has detonated seven and North Korea has detonated one.