A laboratory hidden tests chemical weapons on a wide plain in the desert. A photographer David Maisel captured a dramatic landscape change in his photographs. What did happen on the Dugway Proving Ground military zone that tests facilities in the Great Salt Lake Desert in Utah?

Expired Chemical Weapons at Army Depot

Dugway’s main mission was to develop and test chemical and biological weapons and defense programs from World War II (1942) to the present. Photographer David Maisel had a unique opportunity to enlarge this secret area with his photographs.

The chemical weapon lab in Utah’s desert

“This notion of invisibility is kind of running through all of the pictures too, even in the area, images that I am making of these weapons, testing sites. There are no weapons actually being detonated. So how do you represent that, what you actually can’t see, became a sort of part of the whole process, ” said the photographer.

In 2003, he worked on a project called Terminal Mirage around the Great Salt Lake. And one of the places he met was the Tooele Army Depot. 42% of the country’s expired chemical weapons are stored here. And that led him to the source of many of these expired chemical weapons.

The Images Captured the Dramatic Background Change

“It’s a very chilling environment for good reasons. Every site I was permitted to work at had been vetted. And there was one moment where we were driving from point A to point B across the Baren desert landscape, where I was the building that I had known nothing about, ” Maisel stated.

The landscape with mountains. Pic source: David Maisel, BBC

The mysterious building of unusual structure has fueled his interest in using 800,000 acres by the Dugway military zone. It shows photographs where the landscape has dramatically changed the background behind the building. In the first pictures, rocky mountains stand behind the building. In the next photos, we can see the mountains disappeared. Nobody knows when or how it happened.

The photos show the dramatic landscape change. Pic source: David Maisel, BBC

The Whole System Live Agent Test Chamber (WSLAT) lab was probably put into operation a few days after Maisel left the site. The land is used as a measuring device. As a side effect, it ruinations American West.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p08y2v2m/the-open-air-lab-testing-the-world-s-deadliest-poisons