How Would North Korea's Nuclear Test Affect The World's Major Cities?

According to South Korean news agencies and the US Geological Survey, North Korea has just performed a weapons test with a nuclear bomb. It's only a small one, measuring about 10kt, but that would still have an effect on a city if it were detonated there. Just what would happen to the world's cities if you dropped a 10kt nuke in the middle?

Using Nukemap, we're able to find out. Nukemap is a nifty little tool that lets you plug in a city, town or even the middle of nowhere, pick a bomb and find out what sort of damage it would do. To give you some perspective on North Korea's test device of 10 kilotons, the bomb that vaporised Hiroshima measured in at 16 kilotons, while the largest nuclear bomb ever tested measures 100 megatons. That one was designed in the ex-USSR with a blast radius of a few hundred kilometres.

A nuclear blast has several different zones, and here's how Nukemap illustrates them in the below examples:

• Yellow: Fireball radius -- 0.08 km / 0.05 mi (0.02 km² / 0.01 mi²) Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation. • Red: Air blast radius -- 0.6 km / 0.37 mi (1.13 km² / 0.43 mi²) 20 psi overpressure; heavily built concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished; fatalities approach 100%. • Green: Radiation radius -- 1.3 km / 0.81 mi (5.32 km² / 2.05 mi²) 500 rem radiation dose; between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone; dying takes between several hours and several weeks. • Blue: Air blast radius -- 1.58 km / 0.98 mi (7.84 km² / 3.03 mi²) 4.6 psi overpressure; most buildings collapse; injuries universal, fatalities widespread. • Orange: Thermal radiation radius -- 1.77 km / 1.1 mi (9.79 km² / 3.78 mi²) Third-degree burns to all exposed skin; starts fires in flammable materials, contributes to firestorm if large enough.

Without further ado, the world at war:





New York

San Francisco







    Could you Replace the Tasmania map with Hobart please?, if you have time.

      Yeah not sure on the strategy of bombing the lakes... Warm Liawenee up a bit maybe?

      I thought that was the joke!

        Yeah, I thought that was the joke too, but in my experience, lots of Gizmodo's commenters have no sense of humor.
        Or they need it spelled out for them.

      being an ex-tasmanian i had to laugh when i saw that image.

      Agreed. How is that screenshot illustrative of anything? Where's the blast radius? and why is "Tasmania" listed along with Australia's capital cities instead of Hobart?

      If its a joke, its a bizarre and unfunny one. If its geographical ignorance, that's inexcusable for an Australian tech site.

      the website is there, do it yourself.

    Is there a very deep hole in the middle of Tasmania?

      Why do you ask this? Can you see how far it is zoomed out.

      Not sure why they bothered doing Tasmania as a whole, do people think it's the size of a capital city or something? Surely doing Hobart would have been suffice.

        Still not getting the jokes i see.

    There was an American guy during the cold war who bought up tracts of wilderness land in central Tassie because he thought it was the best place to escape a Nuclear holocaust - how ironic would it be if they dropped a bomb out there!

    I know you east coasters are apparently superior to everyone else, but do you mind putting Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, and our capital, Canberra into an article regarding Australian cities next time?

      Try this maybe? Was mentioned in the article.
      Or you could just accept that those cities are irrelevant any way.. :p (I'm JOKING)

      nobody would bother bombing those cities except canberra.

      its unpopulated as it is even without nuclear intervention

        and you know...Darwin being the only Australian city to have actually been bombed :P

        Except for the fact that knocking out Perth would essentially mean taking out the largest population centre and business hub for the western two thirds of the country. Particularly if they get HMAS Stirling which is the only Navy base on the west coast.

          bit loss that will be
          north korea can have fun mining for diamonds during times of war and living in the desert

    if a nuclear device detonated in the middle of tasmania- would anybody know?

    Tasmania is a state and not a city

    Biggest bomb ever tested was 50MT, though the design of that bomb was capable of doing the 100MT like you said.
    not even the russians at the height of the cold war were dumb enough to detonate it, thats why they scaled it back.

      Actually, they scaled it back because otherwise the delivery plane would not have been able to escape, and they probably need the plane to take certain measurements.

      Also, more accurate missiles rendered the super-bombs irrelevant, as you no longer had to worry about the accuracy of the bombardier and pilot.

    Sydney looks to be an improvement...

      At least I'll still be able to take the train to Central. I just have to remember to
      stay in the last cart when arriving.

      wow, the bomb would wipe out all of the cbd, including: all white collar workers, tourists, corporate head quarters, alot of aborigines
      ....but leave the hipsters in tact

    Tasmania confirmed for ICBM Bermuda Triangle

    So thats how batman survived the blast.

    the bomb was made by north koreans, so the blast radius was small enough for him to escape

    I don't think nuclear bombs in general would hit dead centre of a city if they were ever to be used.

    Thanks for the old cliche of leaving Tassie off the map. Because us Hobart readers really find that highly original joke funny /s

      they included tassie? theyre just trying to say that its insignificant enough that a single bomb would probably be enough to wipe out the state as the radiating starts spreading outwards with nowhere to escape

    Then the Taswegians would have another excuse for the 2nd head. No no. Parents weren't related. Nuclear fallout you know.

      Such creative and original jokes! Have you thought about going on tour with material like that?

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