The world's biggest explosion.

Bumping this old thread because the CBC has recently been advertising a movie which touts the Halifax accident as the “largest pre-atomic explosion.”

Evidentally the CBC has forgotten all about ol’ Mother Nature…

Point of clarification:

For the Yellowstone supervolcano, try 600,000 years ago. See, a more definitive source than originally provided.

FWIW, the May 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens was pretty insignificant compared to the explosion data being sought by the OP. It does have one significant point in that the eruption produced the largest landslide in recorded history.

Absolutely. The largest explosion on the Earth will have been the Big Splash or Big Smash,
(already mentioned by casdave)
a collision with an object the size of Mars, which resulted in the loss of the Earth’s primeval atmosphere, and sent crustal material permanently into orbit, where it became our Moon;

that must have been the biggest impact ever on our planet, and one of the biggest in the solar system; no other terrestrial-type planet has such a large satellite.

SF worldbuilding at

The Guiness book says that Krakatoa is probably the biggest explosion since the Santorini eruption (meaning they consider Santorini to be the biggest).

Perhaps it was the explosion of a proto Krakatoa in 535 AD. It is being posited as to having caused the dark ages.

The oldest one on record that I’m aware of would be the 1054 supernova seen by Chinese and Arabic astronomers, which resulted in what we now call the Crab Nebula. It ocurred, oddly enough, on the 4th of July.

SN 1006 was actually both brighter than the better known SN 1054 and possibly more widely recorded in contemporary documents than the latter. Its remnent isn’t quite so famous as the Crab Nebula, but has been identified.
There are a couple of earlier candidates in historical records for what may be supernovae. And some of our ancestors surely noticed the Vela supernova.

This suggestion has been questioned in recent years.

Would this be the ‘guest star’ I slightly remember from world history?

I’m pretty sure it was when Mia Farrow found those Polaroids.

Possibly. But the term “guest star” is just another term that was once used for a supernova. The 1054 event is the one I’ve heard referred to more frequently than any other, though.

Occurring on Earth, experienced and recorded by man…I immediately thought of Krakatoa.

Apparently Hail Ants and Reeder already mentioned it. I remember an episode of The Time Tunnel centered on this event.

…the time tunnel :eek: t-keela must be gettin old

The formation of the moon is only THEORIZED as coming from an impact, and the largest atomic blast has been mentioned above, but I have to set some people straight on the rest.

1… The Air Force successfully tested the largest conventional bomb on March 12, 2003. 18,000 pounds of high explosives that was dropped from the rear of a cargo plane. No report on the specific yield of the blast.

OK, now the big ones.

2…The asteroid that put the curve in the Yucatan peninsula, only recently discovered by satellites - Chixulub crater is clear evidence of the largest known impact ever. Caused by an Asteroid 10-12 Km across, kicking up a billion tons of debris and leaving a crater 170 km across (the Barringer crater in Arizona is only 17 km across).

3…The blast which formed the Yellowstone caldera 2 million years ago is the largest known volcanic blast ever. It blasted out 2,450 cubic kilometers of material and left a crater 40 miles in diameter! Its had 2 other blasts since, both were still much larger than any other known volcano eruptions. Yellowstone is still the largest active caldera in the world.

You just can’t get any bigger than those without leaving the planet.

Hell, if we’re counting explosions seen from Earth, Shoemaker-Levy 9 would have to count fer somthin’.

But…now that we have a few, terrestrial contenders, anyone feel like arranging them, in order, by megatonnage?* :wink:

*(Amazing…I’ve discovered a way to make a collection of gargantuan, Earth-shaking explosions boring.)

If you are looking for the largest man-made non-nuclear explosion, you probably have not heard about this.

You can imagine the effect of this lot going up,

no need to imagine, here is the result

It was hardly publicised at all, due to wartime restrictions, and after the war folk seemed to have other things on their minds.

I might add that the Halifax Nova Scotia explosion was not the largest conventional explosion, though most folk think it was, due to lack of information about Fauld.

Halifax explosion was around 2500 tons of explosive, but it was in a populated port.

The Fauld explosion was around 3500 tons of explosive, but this was in a relatively lightly poulated area, and much of the blast was dissipated by the fact that it took place underground, though it left an immense crater.

Course you folk from the Americas do like to big it up somewhat, we tend to try keep quiet about our disasters.

Oh! I’ve got a couple…a couple of Soviet N1 Lunar Rockets, that exploded on their launchpads.

To give you an idea of the scale involved, the N1’s were three meters longer than an Saturn V. :eek:

Not the biggest explosion ever, by a long shot. But perhaps the biggest vehicle to ever explode.

The Daisy Cutter?

MOAB. The replacement of the Daisy Cutter.