Neha Patil (Editor)

Sedan Crater

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Nearest city
Mercury, Nevada

Mercury, NV 89023, USA

Added to NRHP
21 March 1994

NRHP Reference #

11 ha

Sedan Crater

Area 10, Nevada Test Site

Sedan Crater is the result of the Sedan nuclear test and is located within the Nevada Test Site, 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Groom Lake, Nevada (Area 51). The crater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1994. The crater is a man-made object that can be seen from earth orbit with the unaided eye.


The crater is the result of the displacement of 12,000,000 short tons (11,000,000 t) of earth. Over 10,000 visitors per year visit the crater through free monthly tours offered by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office. Its closest Soviet counterpart is the slightly wider Chagan crater which filled in to create Lake Chagan.

History and description

The 1,280 by 320 ft (390 by 100 m) crater was created on July 6, 1962 by a 104-kiloton-of-TNT (440 TJ) thermonuclear explosion. The device was buried 635 feet (194 m) below the desert floor in Area 10 of Yucca Flat and was the largest cratering shot in the Plowshare Program. The explosion created fallout that affected more US residents than any other nuclear test, exposing more than 13 million people to radiation and marked the end of the program. Within 7 months of the excavation, the bottom of the crater could be safely walked upon with no protective clothing and photographs were taken.

Because the craters at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) have features similar to the topography of Moon craters, 11 of the 12 American astronauts who walked on the moon trained in Nevada before their missions.

Russian thistle, also known as tumbleweed, is the primary plant species along with some grasses. Analysis in 1993 observed that the original perennial shrubs once living there had shown no recovery.


  • Maximum depth – 320 feet (98 m)
  • Maximum diameter – 1,280 feet (390 m)
  • Volume – 6.6 million cubic yards (5.0×10^6 m3)
  • Weight of material lifted – 12 million short tons (11 Mt)
  • Maximum lip height – 100 feet (30 m)
  • Minimum lip height – 20 feet (6.1 m)
  • References

    Sedan Crater Wikipedia

    Similar Topics