On this day in history - October 7th, 1963

On this day in history - October 7th, 1963

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - President John F. Kennedy signs the Partial Nuclear Test Ban.

While the Cold War raged through the 1950's, the United States detonated nuclear weapons like the 8 megaton Ivy Mike and the 15 megaton Castle Bravo. The Soviet Union developed a massive 60 megaton bomb called Tsar Bomba in 1961. The sizes of these weapons and the potential destruction they could wreak made some politicians want to slow the nuclear arms race down.

The Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain were the first signers of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban. It mandated that all further nuclear testing would be performed underground. At the time of negotiation over the Ban, Great Britain and the United States had great difficulty detecting underground nuclear tests with seismographic equipment. The Soviet Union delayed the Ban for several years because it did not want intrusive inspections of tests by the other countries signing the treaty.

There are currently 126 states that recognize the Ban.

The United States' need to properly detect underground nuclear tests to ensure other countries' compliance with the Ban touched even the Pine Belt. On October 22nd, 1964, the then Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 5.3 kiloton device outside Purvis near Baxterville. The explosion created a cavern deep inside the Tatum Salt Dome. Subsequent testing inside the Tatum Salt Dome would give the United States important data about detection of underground nuclear tests. The Tatum Salt Dome housed the only two nuclear detonations east of the Mississippi River.