In the 1950s and 60s, it seemed the world was growing obsessed with nuclear power and trying different things with it. One of those things that was tried, happened in July of 1962, which resulted in the most radioactive fallout contamination the US has ever seen, and it affected several Minnesota counties.

I had to look up the stories online as I wasn't familiar with this old news. Back in 1962 as part of Operation Plowshare, which was a US government program that was looking at how nuclear weapons could help with mining, cratering, and other 'civilian' purposes. One of those experiments happened in Nevada, at 'Area 10' on the Yucca Flats.

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A nuclear device named Sedan was dropped into an underground shaft and then exploded resulting in a massive crater, and a massive radioactive fallout that spread across the US.

"The plumes headed northeast and then east in roughly parallel paths towards the Atlantic Ocean. Nuclear fallout was dropped through several counties. Detected radioactivity was especially high in eight counties in Iowa and one county each in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Illinois. The most heavily affected counties were Howard, Mitchell, and Worth counties in Iowa as well as Washabaugh County in South Dakota."

Minnesota also saw counties with higher than normal radioactive levels due to the blast. Almost all of the counties affected by the Sedan blast are located along the border of Minnesota and Iowa.

From everything else I've read about after the explosions and nuclear fallout, there didn't seem to be huge health risks or increases in cancer or other unexplained health complications in those areas in Minnesota, but it does make you think about what that fallout did to any of the crops growing at the time.

You can read more about the operation and the explosions here.

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