Most people haven’t seen a giant explosion in their lives and that’s a good thing. But when giant explosions happen most
Here’re the top 10 biggest explosions that ever happened.
10. Ivy Mike Hydrogen Bomb Test
Ivy Mike, the world’s first hydrogen bomb, left a 164-foot crater when the U.S. military tested it on Elugelab Island on November 1, 1952. The bomb, with a yield of 10.4 megatons, created a mushroom cloud that was 100 miles wide and reached 30 miles into the atmosphere.
Ivy Mike’s power was nearly 700 times stronger than the bomb that killed 160,000 people when it was dropped on Hiroshima. Radioactive fallout blew over the neighboring Marshall Islands. News that came out about the test two years later spurred protests against nuclear testing.
9. Texas City Disaster
About 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and high explosives, blew up during a fire on board the SS Grandcamp cargo ship docked at Texas City on April 16, 1947. The ship had served with Pacific fleets during World War II before it was given to France to help restore Europe.
The blast ruptured the ship and sent its cargo more than 2,000 feet into the air. A 15-foot tidal wave crashed into the dock while windows in Houston, 40 miles north, were shattered. Estimates differ as to how many people died, but the number’s believed to be between 500 and 600 while thousands of people were injured. The dead included the Texas City Fire Department’s chief and 27 of its firefighters.
8. Halifax Ship Explosion
People, thousands of miles away heard the explosion caused when the French munitions ship Mont Blanc struck another ship on Dec. 6, 1917. The collision happened in the harbor of Halifax in Canada, killing more than 1,800 people and injuring about 9,000 more. About 200 people were blinded by the explosion.
The Mont Blanc, carrying 2,300 tons of explosive picric acid, 200 tons of TNT, 35 tons of high-octane gasoline and 10 tons of gun cotton, was on its way to join a military convoy headed across the Atlantic Ocean during World War I.
7. Castle Romeo Nuclear Test
The United States conducted a series of thermonuclear bomb tests two years after the Ivy Mike test. The largest, Castle Bravo, occurred on February 28, 1954, on a coral reef on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Scientists estimated its force would be five to six megatons, one megaton being equal to a million tons of TNT. Their miscalculation resulted in a blast with a 15 megaton yield, 1,000 times more powerful than bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nuclear fallout spread over about 7,000 square miles as 665 residents of the Marshall Islands. Inhabitants suffered health problems including birth defects for years when 665 inhabitants were overexposed to radiation.
6. Tunguska Event
Residents near a remote part of Siberia witnessed fireballs in the sky on June 30, 1908. Soon after they saw an explosion above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River.
The explosion, known as the Tunguska event, was believed to be an incoming comet exploding in the atmosphere. It killed reindeer but no people as it flattened trees throughout the area. The blast was believed to be equivalent to 1,000 times more powerful than the bombs used in World War II.
5. Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Explosion
A flawed reactor design led to April 26, 1986, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in Ukraine. Two plant workers died in the explosion and 28 more died within a few weeks from radiation poisoning. Thirty operators and firemen died within three months.
Work to permanently secure the site continues 30 years later. A concern that a concrete covering placed over the site in 1986 wasn’t strong enough led to plans to build a new safe confinement structure that’s due to be completed in 2017.
Radioactive fallout – about 400 times more that that caused by the Hiroshima bomb – contaminated more than 77,000 square miles.
4. Krakatoa Volcano
More than 36,000 people died on August 27, 1883, when a volcano erupted between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung. Fatalities were attributed to both thermal injury from the volcano and tsunamis that happened after the volcano collapsed below sea level.
The force was estimated to be equal to 200 megatons of TNT, about 13,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
3. Tsar Bomba Nuclear Test
Soviets tested Tsar Bomba, also known as Big Ivan, on October 30, 1961. The resulting blast registered 3,000 times more strong than the bomb used on Hiroshima as flashes of light were seen up to 620 miles away.
A bomb with that power could potentially give people within 4,080 square miles of the epicenter third-degree burns and create a fireball about 6.4 square miles large. The 1961 blast broke windows 560 miles away. It’s still considered the world’s largest man-made explosion.
2. Yellowstone Caldera Eruption
Scientists believe a volcano erupted long time ago at the site of what’s today considered the Yellowstone Caldera, located in Yellowstone National Park. It covered most of North America with volcanic ash, about 2,500 times as much as occurred after the Mount St. Helens volcano eruption in 1980.
There remain fears that the “super volcano” could erupt again. Experts put the odds at about 1 in 700,000.
1. Gamma Ray Burst
Scientists believe light from a high-energy explosion that happened many years ago reached Earth in 2014. The gamma ray burst, a collapse of a star at the end of its life, was estimated to have energy equal to 1,038 tons of TNT when it reached Earth. The actual explosion is estimated to be equivalent to 1 trillion Tsar Bombs going off every second for many years. Now that’s a big explosion.