Sunday, June 3, 2012

The King of Bombs

In the years following World War II, The United States and the Soviet Union went head to head for global domination. The Americans ended the war with the detonation of two Atomic Bombs, one over Nagasaki and one over Hiroshima. Not to be out done, the Russians began to develop their own superweapon. The result? A massive beast of a bomb, known simply as Tsar Bomba, the King of Bombs. It was the largest nuclear weapon ever constructed or detonated.

Tsar Bomba, the King of Bombs
Built by the Russians in 1961, Tsar Bomba was designed to have the firepower of 100 million tons of TNT. But, in order to reduce the nuclear fallout in their own territory, the firepower was reduced to 57 million tons of TNT. To put that in perspective, the power of this bomb was five times greater than all the TNT used in World War II (including both atomic bombs dropped over Japan). Because of its design, the bomb got 97% of its energy from from fusion reactions. Had it not, the world's fission fallout would have increased by roughly 25 percent.

The plane climbed high and dropped Tsar Bomba over the Mityushikha Bay test site, which was on the western coast of Novaya Zemlya Island. Scientists had calculated that the bomb would burst at 13,000 feet, well above the ground, hopefully reducing damage. But they were wrong. 

Fireball from the Tsar Bomba explosion
The detonation of the bomb was incredible. The cloud mushroomed up and continued to grow and grow. The fireball from the blast, though detonated in the sky and reaching a height of nearly 13,000 feet, touched the ground and swelled even higher, nearly touching the plane that released it.

The blast from the explosion was both bright and hot. The blast was seen from over 621 miles away and the pressure below the inferno was six times greater than the peak pressure of the atomic bomb felt at Hiroshima. One tester, who was 168 miles away, felt the thermal burst from the explosion.

From the Nuclear Weapons Archive, a cameraman on the plane described the explosion:

The clouds beneath the aircraft and in the distance were lit up by the powerful flash. The sea of light spread under the hatch and even clouds began to glow and became transparent. At that moment, our aircraft emerged from between two cloud layers and down below in the gap a huge bright orange ball was emerging. The ball was powerful and arrogant like Jupiter. Slowly and silently it crept upwards.... Having broken through the thick layer of clouds it kept growing. It seemed to suck the whole earth into it. The spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural.

Reports from around the test site were astounding. One observer reported seeing a bright, white flash on the horizon, followed by a low and heavy rumble. They described it as if the earth "had been killed."

At a settlement 435 miles away, a shock wave from the blast was felt. At another one 559 miles aways, glass in the windows were either cracked or broken. In the town Severny, a mere 34 miles away, every building was destroyed. People 120 miles from the blast site reported third degree burns. The temperature at the epicenter of the blast reached 1 million degrees Celsius. In dozens of other towns and villages spread out from ground zero, houses and buildings were destroyed and radio signals were lost for well over an hour. 

All bombs create a disturbance when detonated, where they release radioactive atoms and electrons in a blast into the high atmosphere. The explosion of Tsar Bomba created a disturbance to the atmosphere that circled the globe three times. 

The mushroom cloud rose into the sky an astounding 210,000 feet and created an earthquake that registered a 5.0.

The Russians had succeeded in creating a sun on the earth.

The explosion was captured on camera. Here is the amazing footage. (If you can't view the video on your device, then click here.)


  1. Interesting read and I can't believe its true.

    1. Ha! Thanks Quackster! Wild, but 100 percent true!