The altitude of the explosion was important because a ground or near ground burst would produce radioactive fallout, whereas an air burst would produce only short distance and short lived initial radiations (but no fallout). Once combined with the peak-overpressure readings from post Bomb Power Indicator readings the power of the burst in megatons could also be calculated by the Triangulation Team in the group control building, using a hand held plastic calculator device.
The light sensitive photographic paper was unfixed chemically and had to be protected from daylight by being carried in a protective pouch strapped to the observer's chest. The cassettes were always lodged in a specific order so they could be changed in the pitch black with practice. Differing notched cutouts at the bottom of the cassettes ensured they could not be mounted at the incorrect cardinal point.
Daylight inevitably darkened the unfixed papers so routine changes were made at mid day during winter operations and twice daily, at mid day and sunset, during summer months. The sun burned a distinctive suntrail across the papers when there was no cloud cover.
Sixty seconds after any reading on the Bomb Power Indicator an observer exited the post and changed the GZI cassettes. The exposed papers were returned underground for assessment. The pre-exposed papers had a graticule grid exposed on the papers that showed degrees of bearing. The fireball from any nuclear burst within range would have burned a mark on the paper. The spot size and bearing would be reported to the group control together with an indication that the spot is touching or clear of the horizon, essential for indicating an air or ground burst.
Observers trained blindfolded so that they could exit the post up the vertical steel ladder and complete a GZI cassette change quickly and even in the pitch dark of a winter's night.
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