Happy Fourth of July everyone! Now please be safe. The celebration of our nation’s independence has always brought a wide array of fireworks to the household, as people try to balance BBQ, family and heavy-grade explosives. We at the Independent want to tip our caps to all the service men and women that protect and make this country great, and wish everyone a great holiday.
Since explosions are on the mind as well, we’ve decided to come up with a list of the biggest explosions in history. Not kidding – these are the biggest booms you’ll find – even bigger than that special M80 that Uncle Joe has been putting together in the garage.
No. 10 – Texas City Disaster
In 1947, A fire that broke out on the SS Grandcamp docked near Texas City and caused an explosion from 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is used for fertilizer and… high-grade explosives. The explosion knocked two planes out of the sky, caused a chain reaction of refinery explosions nearby and a neighboring cargo ship carrying ammonium nitrate to go up as well. Considered the worst industrial accident in US history, the explosion killed roughly 600 people and injured 3,500.
9. Halifax Disaster
Similair to the Texas City disaster, but happening 30 years before – the harbor of Halifax Canada saw the collision of a French cargo ship loaded with explosives for WWI and a Belgian vessel in 1917. The resulting explosion was the equivalent to roughly 3 kilotons of TNT – the largest accidental man-made explosion ever. It also caused a 20,000-foot plume above the city, kicked up a tsunami that washed up as high as 60 feel and for over a mile around the blast center there was complete devastation. Roughly 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 injured.
The worst nuclear accident in history was perhaps the most spectacular. In 1986, after poor procedures by Soviet operators, the reactor went critical and blew the 2,000-ton lid off the reactor and sent out a massive amount of fallout that contaminated more than 77,000 square miles in Europe, exposing roughly 600,000 people. There was 400 times more radioactive fallout than the Hiroshima bomb. More than 350,000 people had to be evacuated and former Soviet cities still sit uninhabited and abandoned.
No. 7 – Soviet N1 rocket
This explosion basically ended the Soviet manned moon program. On July 3, 1969, the hopelessly complicated and gigantic N1 rocket intended to take cosmonauts to the moon – exploded on the launch pad. The rocket had so much fuel in it (1,496,000 pounds of fuel) that the destructive power of the explosion nearly matched that of the Hiroshima bomb.
6. Trinity Blast
Here’s the first atom bomb explosion in history. Detonated at the Trinity Site near Alamogordo, N.M. in 1945 it had the explosion force of 20 kilotons of TNT. This brought the world into the nuclear age, and two atom bombs dropped on Japan would later end WWII.
5. Mt. St. Helens
Who could forget this one? Right in our backyard of Western Washington, Mt. St. Helens erupted on March 18, 1980 causing a magnitude 5.1 earthquake and the north face of the mountain collapsed. This caused large pyroclastic flows that flattened nearly 230 miles. The plume of ash erupted to 16 miles above sea level and moved at 60 miles per hour – reaching as far as Edmonton, Alberta the morning after the eruption.
The Soviets exploded the largest nuclear weapon ever. So large, the Tsar Bomba had a yield of 50 megatons and was scaled down from a 100 megaton bomb. The 27-metric ton bomb was dropped by a Tu-95V plan with the bomb bay doors and fuselage fuel tanks removed. It had a parachute attached to it so the plane and fellow observer planes could fly 28 miles away from ground zero. Still when the bomb detonated, the Tu-95v still dropped one kilmeter in the air because of the shock wave.
The Tsar Bomba’s fireball was five miles in diameter and nearly reached an altitude of 6.5 miles. It was detonated over Mityushikha Bay north of the Artic Circle in a sparsely populated region. The mushroom cloud reached 40 miles high and the fireball was seen 620 miles away. An abandoned village 34 miles away had all buildings destroyed, and wooden houses hundreds of kilometers away were destroyed and stone houses lost their roofs, windows and doors. Radio communication 100 kilometers away were also interrupted.
3. Mount Tambora
The eruption of this volcano – Mt. Tambora – in 1815 caused the “Year without a summer.” It was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, hurling 140 billion tons of magma onto the Earth and killing more than 71,000 people on the island of Sumbawa and nearby Lombok. The ash released caused global climate anomalies and 1816 had snow falling in June in New York and river ice in July in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of thousands of people died from famine worldwide.
2. Tunguska Explosion
This 1908 explosion – which is thought to be from an asteroid or comet that exploded in the atmosphere flattened some 500,000 acres of Siberian forest. Sciencetists estimate the cosmic object was seven times larger than the Titanic and exploded with a force 250 times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
1. The asteroid that killed the Dinosaurs
This impact 65 million years ago killed of roughly half of all species on planet Earth. It was estimated that the asteroid was six miles wide and exploded at the force of 10,000 gigatons or some 1,000 times the size of the world’s nuclear arsenal. The collision would have caused dust to engulf the world and ignited global firestorms. A world-changing impact is no doubt the No. 1 explosion on this list.