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Historical Society Screens ‘The Burning Ground’ Oct. 8

on October 6, 2019 - 10:59am


A screening of “La Tierra Quemada” (The Burning Ground) will be presented Oct. 8 in Fuller Lodge as part of the Los Alamos Historical Society’s Lecture Series.

Cary Skidmore will present this 54-minute documentary video produced by Los Alamos National Laboratory to recount the circumstances of its most devastating explosives accident, Oct. 14, 1959.

Skidmore will conduct a brief question and answer period following the video.

Explosives operations at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s S-Site were at a feverish pace that undergirded the frenzy of Cold War nuclear weapons development. Tragically, four workers from the nearby Rio Grande Valley were killed in a violent explosion while performing routine operations at the Burning Ground.

Reverberations rocked families, co-workers, communities, S-Site operations, and nuclear weapons designs.

Now, 60 years after the accident, the story is shared in a public screening for the first time. There will be a brief question and answer period following the video.

Skidmore was intimately involved in various aspects of explosives research and operations for most of his 33-year career at the Laboratory. For the final 12 years, his passion was researching and sharing the history of the Lab’s work with explosives. He considers this documentary video the capstone of his career.

This presentation begins at 7 p.m. in Fuller Lodge and is free and open to the public.

The 2019-2020 Los Alamos Historical Society Lecture Series is generously sponsored by Robin and Richard McLean.