SYNOPSIS: At dawn today on Iron Range in Northern Queensland the countdown began for the largest explosion in Australia's history.
CUE: Silhouettes, group and officer drinking.
Pan across rain forest
Bulldozer moves over trench
U.S. and Aust. observers (2 shots)
LS explosion flash smoke mushroom
C/away of cameraman
Two shots: Cloud of smoke
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: SYNOPSIS: At dawn today on Iron Range in Northern Queensland the countdown began for the largest explosion in Australia's history.
About 315 miles north of Cairns the Army and Department of Supply detonated tens of tons of explosives to gauge the effect of a large scale explosion in tropical rain forest.
Safety precautions were stringent and trenches and bunkers were provided for the 300 soldiers and scientist who camped in the jungle to watch the blast.
A last check on atmospheric conditions with a hygrometer showed all was well.
Military ?? observers were present from Australia, the United Sates, Canada and New Zealand.
The layman the initial blast -- a fireball billowing up into the shape of a mushroom -- looked like an atomic explosion.As the shock wave cut through the jungle, the mushroom of smoke turned pink on top and it had a green stem.The slower sound waves took longer to reach the observers.
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Almost immediately the jungle below was a grey ghost of stalks and twisted metal.An American Army Colonel found a leg from a dummy soldier still encased in its boot and gaiter.The experiment is considered a success by all who saw it detonate exactly on schedule but now there are months of work ahead for the scientists to examine and evaluate the results.