Thursday, August 13, 2015

Musings on stuff blowing up

So the explosions in Tianjin, China, got me thinking about the forces we can unleash and how puny we are in comparison to the mess our efforts can make. The estimates I heard were that it was equivalent to 21 tons of TNT. Pretty damn big, since that's 42,000 pounds, and one pound of TNT would do plenty of damage. For reference:

But going back to the China explosions. 21 tons of TNT, you saw that horror on the news. And then think back to the A-bombs. Hiroshima was hit by the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT. 30,000,000 pounds equivalent.

And then when the big countries really play like boys with new toys... Ever hear of the Czar Bomba? During the really entertaining part of the Cold War, the Soviets came up with that one. They scaled it back, because the original yield was so big that the plane dropping it couldn't have escaped, even with the drogue chute slowing it down. The scaled-down version had a yield in excess of 50 megatons. That is, comparing to the China explosions' 21 tons of yield, 50,000,000+ tons. (The pre-scaling back plan was for a 100 megaton bomb.) If you want to know more...

And the really fun part? Have you heard of the explosion of the Krakatoa volcano? That would be nature showing us that, yes, we remain mere ants in the grand scheme. The Krakatoa volcanic explosion is estimated to have had about 4 times the power of the Czar Bomba. Take that, humans!