Thermal Skin Burns: Example after Nuclear Blast
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(a)Thermal skin burns: Example after nuclear blast (b) Thermal skin burns: Example after nuclear blast

Source: Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation, Second edition, 6/2010 (PDF - 2.62 MB) (National Security Staff, Interagency Policy Coordination Subcommittee for Preparedness & Response to Radiological and Nuclear Threats, page 25)
Original Source: Pictures of World War II, U.S. National Archives & Records Administration, 77-MDH-6.55b

Flash burn victims from
(a) Hiroshima, showing pattern burns (i.e., the dark colored material pattern on the victims clothing absorbed the thermal energy and burned the skin), and
(b) Nagasaki, showing profile burns (i.e., burns around the light colored clothing that reflected the thermal energy).

Thermal / Burn injury
  • Burn casualties: mechanisms
    • Flash burns: absorption of thermal energy from the environment through exposed skin, with possible heating or ignition of clothing, (shown above)
    • Flame burns: caused by actual fires ignited in the environment, (not shown above)