13 Biggest Nuclear Explosions in History

8. Castle Bravo

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Detonated at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, Bravo was the first in the Castle series of nuclear tests carried out by the US on 1 March 1954. The series was one of the biggest nuclear explosions ever to be executed by the US. The Bravo was expected to be a six megaton explosion. Instead, the bomb output a 15 megaton fission blast. The resultant mushroom cloud reached a height of 114,000 feet. The US military’s miscalculation led to the irradiation of more than 660 people in the Marshall Island. The radiation poisoned to death a Japanese fisherman 80 miles from the detonation site.

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9. Castle Romeo

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It was the second of the Castle nuclear explosions test series carried out on 27 March 1954. Romeo too was detonated at Bikini Atoll. The Romeo was the third-most powerful of all nuclear explosions in the Castle series. It had a yield of 11 megatons. Castle Romeo was the first bomb to be tested over a barge on open water, instead of a reef, because the US was fast running out of suitable islands on which nuclear weapons test could be carried out. The blast had the power to incinerate everything within a radius of 1.91 square miles.

10. The FOAB

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The Father of all Bombs (FOAB) is a Russian tactical weapon designed for mid-air detonation and deliver incinerating shockwaves to the target area below. The yield is equal to 44 tons TNT, making it the smallest nuclear weapon in existence. The FOAB, however, doesn’t generate radioactive fallout like other nuclear arsenal. It’s a part of a mini arms race between Moscow and Washington. The US, in 2003, developed the Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), a smaller device than FOAB with an 11 ton TNT yield. The MOAB was soon labeled as the Mother of all Bombs. FOAB was developed in 2007 and is claimed by Russia to be four times more powerful than MOAB. Washington, characteristically, doubts Moscow’s claims and alleged that the MOAB test video was doctored.

11. Ivy Mike

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On 1 November 1953, the US detonated Ivy Mike on Marshall Islands. It was the world’s first hydrogen bomb with a 10.4 megaton yield. It was 700 times more powerful than the first atomic bomb. The detonation was so powerful, it vaporized the entire Elugelab Island where the test was carried out. It left a 164 foot deep crater. The mushroom cloud went up about 30 miles into the atmosphere.

12. Tests 158 and 162

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On 25 August and 19 September 1962, USSR carried out two nuclear explosion tests. Both tests were executed over the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic with 10 megaton atomic bombs. No photograph or film of the tests was ever released. The blasts were powerful to burn everything within a 1.77 square mile radius and cause third degree burns within 1,090 square miles.

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13. Test 219

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On 24 December 1962, the USSR carried out Test 219 over the same Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Moscow claimed the tests to be the most powerful of all nuclear explosions, though like Tests 158 and 162, no video or photo was released. Test 219 involved a 24.2 megaton bomb with a capacity to incinerate everything inside a 3.58 square mile radius and cause third degree burns over an area of 2,250 square miles.

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