Everybody likes to watch explosions. Come on, admit it: you like looking at enormous blasts on YouTube because they simultaneously thrill you and make you feel safer and more cautious in your tiny little life. OK, maybe I am projecting a little. But who cares. Whether they’re the result of war, science, freak accidents or rocket failures, destruction is in our blood. The fireball is our final heartbeat, the blastwave is our last breath.
I hope you love the following selection of devastating detonations as much as I do.
The Halifax explosion, December 1917
The town of Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) was destroyed by the explosion of a cargo ship loaded with military explosives. About two thousand people were killed and almost 10 thousands were injured. Until the first nuclear blast, it was the largest man-made explosion in recorded history with an equivalent force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Hindenburg catastrophe, May 1937
The fate of USS Shaw, December 1941
The Trinity explosion, July 1945
Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Texas City Disaster, April 1947
Refineries and oil storage tanks of the Monsanto chemical plant burn in the waterfront area of Texas City, TX. The disaster was caused by the explosion of the French ship Grandcamp, which was loaded with 7700 tons of ammonium nitrate. About 2.7 kilotons of energy — the equivalent of 1.134 kilotons of TNT — was released. 581 died and more than 5000 were injured. This is generally considered the worst industrial accident in United States history.
Heligoland, April 1947
Castle Bravo, March 1954
The Vanguard explosion, December 1957
Source: YouTube/CRGIS Interns
Ripple Rock, April 1958
Source: YouTube/John Hutchison
Failed Titan I launch, December 1959
Source: YouTube/Mr Dan Beaumont
The Nedelin catastrophe, October 1960
The Tsar Bomba, October 1961
Atlas-Centaur rocket explosion, March 1965
Operation Sailor Hat, 1965
Photo: US Navy/NHHC
N1 launch explosion, July 1969
Source: YouTube/Roscosmos TV
The Murdock BLEVE, September 1983
The San Juanico disaster, November 1984
Minor Scale, June 1985
The PEPCON disaster, May 1988
MOAB test, 2003
Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal Fire, December 2005
Photo: Hertfordshire Police/Getty Images
Sea Launch Rocket Failure, January 2007
FOAB test, September 2007
The last BLU-82, July 15, 2008
Photo: Capt Patrick Nichols/US Air Force
Cataño oil refinery fire, October 2009
Did we miss you favourite blast? Post it in the comments!