Chernobyl's "Elephant's Foot" Will Kill You If You Look At It

Chernobyl's "Elephant's Foot" Will Kill You If You Look At It

Like a real-life Medusa, the "elephant's foot" at Chernobyl can kill you just by looking at it. Located in the basement beneath the failed nuclear reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the elephant's foot is a molten, still-hot, lava-like mass of highly radioactive material. The mass measures two meters in diameter, but weighs hundreds of tons. Six months after the disaster, scientists determined that just 300 seconds of exposure to the molten blob would be fatal. Even today, around 30 years after the incident, direct exposure would kill you within an hour. The foot continually generates heat and is still melting into the base of the power plant.

02:24

from Nikola Slavkovic

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    The disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 occurred after a system test on the fourth nuclear reactor. (0:02)

  • 2

    Six months after the Chernobyl, scientists claimed you would die after standing next to the "elephant's foot" for 300 seconds. (1:36)

  • 3

    Even today, you would die after standing next to Chernobyl's "elephant's foot" for about an hour. (1:59)

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Death

Disasters

Radioactive Decay

Beetles

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