The tropical blue skies over the southern Pacific Ocean were enveloped by towering mushroom clouds lingering over the Marshall Islands in 1954 as the United States continued its testing of nuclear weapons.

The United States conducted 67 nuclear weapon tests from 1946 to 1958 on the pristine Marshall Islands. The most powerful test was the “Bravo” hydrogen bomb in 1954, which was about 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

The extensive nuclear bomb testing blanketed the islands in radioactive ash, covering it in the fine, white, powder-like substance. Children, unaware of what the radioactive ash was, played in the “snow” and ate it according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.

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