The world is indeed a global village. With the power of social media, the distance amongst us has almost disappeared. And this became all the more apparent in the recent explosion of Lebanon. Due to this connectivity, the entire world witnessed the Beirut explosion on 4th August almost as instantly as it happened. And since then, people have been drawing its comparison with other historical eruptions. Below are the five most enormous explosions in this history of humanity.
1. Mount Tambora
Mount Tambora, located in Indonesia, exploded in 1815. The force was equivalent to 1,000 megatons of TNT. It was recorded as the most massive volcanic eruption in history. The blast killed 71,000 people on Sumbawa island and nearby Lombok. These immediate deaths were due to almost 140 billion tons of magma erupting from the volcano. But the later consequences were much harsher. The ash created anomalies in the global climate. In 1816, Albany New York had snowfall in June; there was ice on the river in Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands of people died due to famine; the came to be known as Year Without a Summer.
2. Trinity Blast
‘The Gadget’ was the first atom bomb in history. It exploded in 1945 at the Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The force of the explosion was approximately 20 kilotons of TNT. Scientists revealed that the residents of New Mexico were likely exposed to thousands of times more public radiation than the recommended level. Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer said he was reminded of a line from a Hindu Scripture as he watched the test explosion, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
3. Halifax Explosion
An accidental explosion in 1917 was also recorded as one of the biggest bang in world history. A French ship is transporting explosives for World War I collided with a Belgian ship in a Canadian harbor. Halifax Canada witnessed an explosion of roughly three kilotons of TNT. Following the blast, a white plume went 20,000 feet above the city. It also provoked a tsunami as high as 60 feet. Moreover, 2000 died while 9,000 were injured. It was called the world’s most massive artificial explosion, where the devastation spread for around 1.2 miles around the blast center.
4. Texas City Disaster
In 1947, SS Grandcamp, a cargo ship, was docked at Texas city. A fire erupted on board, which led to a fiery explosion. It exploded almost 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate, an element used in high explosives. The explosion initiated a chain reaction detonating nearby refineries as well as another cargo ship that had an additional 1,000 tons of ammonium nitrate. It also brought down two planes from the sky and killed 600 people alongside injuring 3,500. It is still considered the worst industrial accident.
5. K-T Extinction Impact Event
Sixty-five million years ago, the age of dinosaurs ended with an explosion killing half of all species. The cosmic impact was when an asteroid 10 km wide struck the earth. It exploded with a force of 10,000 gigatons of TNT. It must have covered the world with dust, provoked tsunamis thousands of feet high, and triggered global firestorms. A crater, 180 km long, on Chicxulub on the coast of Mexico, is possibly the blast site.