It’s a huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar, an abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight, or it could even be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film—but it’s just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.

A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere Built to Track the End of the World

2

Before and After Operation Doorstep

On March 17, 1953 the Federal Civil Defense Administration conducted Operation Doorstep at Yucca Flat, Nevada.  It tested the effects of thermal radiation and nuclear blasts on residential buildings and mannequins such as the model family pictured.

Mannequin Family in a House at Operation Doorstep, 7,500 Feet from the Blast, before the Blast, 03/17/1953

Mannequin Family in a House at Operation Doorstep, 7,500 Feet from the Blast, after the Blast, 03/17/1953

(see also "Operation Cue" conducted in May of 1955.)

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