|Hiroshima Bomb Index's Journal
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In a universe filled with the spectacular and bizarre, life on planet Earth may be exposed to a deadly threat. It is called a gamma ray burst. and even if one happens at a vast distance from the solar system, it could destroy us.
The GRB lasts anywhere from 2 to 100 seconds. Its power may be understood by showing how it would affect the Earth. 6000 light years away, it could cause a mass extinction, as a GRB may have done in the ancient past.
"It's like having 3000 megatons of bombs go off in the Earth's atmosphere simultaneously."
But what if it happened closer? Instead of 6000 light years, just 1000.
"The megatonnage would be about like 100,000 megatons of nuclear bombs. It's like standing a couple of miles from the Hiroshima bomb, everywhere on the surface of the Earth."
There might be an event within 100 light years. Then things get very very bad. It blows away the atmosphere, creates tidal waves, and starts to melt the surface of the Earth. Now if you want to get even more extreme, you could say, 'what about the nearest star?' There is a one chance in a million in the life of the Earth that something might happen as close as Alpha Centauri. and then you would truly incinerate the Earth. It would be left -- the rocky part and everything would be left -- but it would be billions and billions of megatons, as they say." Stan Woosley, Astrophysicist, Univ. of Ca., Santa Cruz post a comment
"There are dangerous places, certainly very energetic phenomena, that are a lot more powerful than atomic bombs being detonated -- infinitely more powerful." Feryal Ozel, University of Arizonapost a comment
It was the most famous eruption on earth. The force was thousands of times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
Another larger explosion hit at precisely 6:42 am. Then, another, an hour and 38 minutes later.
"Volcanoes that have this type of behavior often are compared to many nuclear bombs exploding all at once -- that's their power. " Dr, Ken Wohletz, Los Alamos National Laboratory
To date, however, geologists have found no physical evidence of a huge eruptions of Krakatoa in 416 AD. But some researchers claim to have found geological clues indicating a massive eruption in 535 AD, 119 year later. They believe that the ancient text in the Book of Kings was referring to the 535 AD eruption.
"The entire event was the equivalent in terms of energy of many hundreds of millions of Hiroshima bombs." David Keys, author, Catastrophe post a comment
"This is called the Apple II House. This was one of the structures built to support a test that was detonated about a mile and a quarter in that direction."
"This is the Sedan crater. The purpose of this test was to answer a very basic question -- how big a hole can we make with a nuclear weapon? The purposes were peaceful -- to do civil engineering -- the excavation of harbors or canals with nuclear weapons. This was created by a 105 kiloton detonation. That's about 5 times the size of Hiroshima. It detonated with a force of over 200 million pounds of explosive. From rim to rim, you're looking at about a quarter mile across, and it's a little more than 300 feet deep." Joe Martz, Los Alamos Laboratory post a comment
At 5:30 the following morning, the first of four truly cataclysmic explosions occurred on Krakatoa. The volcano erupted, literally ripping itself apart, in an explosion equivalent to the power of a thousand atomic bombs.
No atomic bomb blast can rival the sound that the final eruption made. The shockwaves from the explosion reverberated around the globe seven times and were still detectable five days later. post a comment
"The Marr volcano forms in a very unique [sic] fashion. It forms by large steam explosions. Now the steam explosions here were caused by rising magma hitting ground water, causing the ground water to flash into steam and large explosions. Now, when I say large, I really mean large. The crater gives evidence of explosions being up to as many as 50 times larger than the explosions over Hiroshima." Ken Wohletz, Volcanologist, Los Alamos National Laboratorypost a comment
Each second inside the sun, 600 million tons of hydrogen are fused into 595 million tons of helium. That 5 million tons of mass lost in the process is converted into energy equal to 1 billion one-megaton hydrogen bombs. That's every second.
When a sunspot unleashes its magnetic energy, what results are the most colossal explosions in the solar system: solar flares. A single flare releases as much as a billion megatons of energy, the combined power of a million volcanic eruptions on Earth.
"They appear as these very bright regions, and they're so bright because the temperature is so high, on the order of ten million degrees. And they can last for hours. But the energy is massive." Holly Gilbert, Rice University
"The whole explosion is equivalent to millions of nuclear bombs leaving the surface of the sun all at once." Robert Roy Britt, livescience.com post a comment
As the comet hurtles toward earth, a missile races toward the comet. It carries a nuclear warhead 800 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Mankind awaits the outcome.
"That equation [E=mc2] shows that every piece of matter in our universe has stored within it a fantastic amount of energy. The speed of light, for example, is about 300 million meters per second. You multiply that by itself and you get 90 quadrillion. So in other words, what is matter? In some sense, matter is nothing but the condensation of vast amounts of energy. So in other words, if you could unlock, somehow unlock all the energy stored within my pen, that would erupt with a force comparable to an atomic bomb." Michio Kaku, Physicist, CUNY
So what if the one possibility actually happened? What kind of damage could an asteroid the size of the Rose Bowl do?
"The Russians and the US still have thousands of weapons, many of them ready to launch in 15 minutes or less. This is enough to destroy both countries, and in fact, the world." Joseph Cirincione, Arms Control Analyst, Center for American Progress
In order to build the diversion channel, the workers blasted through solid rock. For the dam workers, this is one of the most dangerous jobs on the site. Detonators are made by taping sticks of dynamite to a fuse. The dynamite and the fuses are strapped to long sticks of bamboo, before being shoved into pre-drilled holes. More dynamite caps are placed in the hole before the explosion is triggered. A warning siren indicates workers must retreat from the blast site.
In May 1980, Mount St. Helens, only 50 miles from Mount Ranier, exploded in an awe-inspiring display of nature's fury. The energy released equaled 24 megatons, making it 7500 times more powerful than the atomic blast at Hiroshima.
It begins on a clear spring morning. The ground near Seattle rumbles to life. A seismometer stationed on Ranier picks up a tremor measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale. Its force is communicated via a real-time data stream to the operations room at the Cascade Volcano Observatory.
"These are real sharp pops, or crackles, and they register like a big streak across the screen."
Shrouded in clouds, far up on the summit, Mt. Ranier blows apart in a ferocious eruption.
"It would involve a jet of gas, ash, and hot rocks, which is hurled skywards."
The force of this vertical eruption equals eight thousand atomic bombs. post a comment
To have destroyed so much of life so quickly, the killer must have been unimaginably violent. Rampino could think of only one thing it could be.
April 26, 1986, the Ukraine. The scene in this Russian documentary: reactor #4 at Chernobyl explodes and burns, pouring radioactive material into the atmosphere. Thirty-one people die on the spot; children were found to be most vulnerable. In the days after the explosion, a cloud of radioactivity that started out two hundred times stronger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs spread across Russia and Europe.post a comment
When Mt. St. Helens blew, the force was 27,000 times greater than that of the Hirshima bomb!post a comment
During its life, a category 3 hurricane can unleash more energy than thousands of nuclear bombs. And the next one that targets the east coast could hit New York City.post a comment
We may join the dinosaurs. In an instant, ancient history might be repeated.
The deadliest threat may come from the sky. Although its arrival would be no surprise, there would be nowhere to run. Los Angeles would be transformed from a city into a bullseye.
"It's like a mountain running into the earth with the speed of a bullet."
The impact is larger than a thousand Hiroshimas.
"It's gonna be a gigantic explosion and blindingly brilliant and far brighter than the sun."
"The incoming object, as it went thought the earth's atmosphere, would have ionized a tremendous amount of gas in the atmosphere, and essentially glowed. It would have looked like the sky was on fire."
It hit the ocean just off the coast of Mexico.
"The ocean layer is just like the paper on a Christmas gift. It just is gone in a second. In fact, it blew away that layer and dug thirty kilometers deeper. We're talking digging a hole into rocks, twenty miles down. So its a huge catastrophic event."
"It had an energy that's maybe ten, or a hundred thousand times more than all the energy in all the nuclear weapons on the Earth."
"Apophis is thought to be about 320 meters in extent, a little over three times the size of a football field. If it were to hit the earth, it would be a big problem. It would be an explosion with far more energy that any nuclear armament we have."
"It created an immense explosion, which actually excavated this immense bowl-shaped cavity, throwing 175 million metric tons of rock on the surrounding landscape. This material now up on the rim of the crater, used to be far below me. The explosive energy of the impact event excavated this block up out of the crater and deposited it up here on the rim."
The explosion was equal to the power of one thousand Hiroshima bombs.
The meteor that created this crater was made of iron. A similar-sized asteriod made of stone, on the other, hand, is far more likely to fragement, and would explode before hitting the earth. Yet that doesn't mean it wouldn't create a catastrophe, like the the asteroid that exploded in 1908, over the Siberian region of Tunguska.
"It was tens of meters in size, maybe half the size of a football field. It blew up about eight miles above the ground with the energy of tens of megatons. It was like a large nuclear weapon, blew down a whole forest, left nothing on the ground, no crater, totally pulverized itself."
The heat wave from the explosion... "would be catastrophic. It could be at least a million megatons of equivalent energy, far larger than the total nuclear arsenal." post a comment
"The average citizen of San Francisco walking down Market Street would have had no idea that this magnificent city would have been erased from the earth in a very short period of time."
An iron asteroid is spinning inevitably to a violent collision with Planet Earth. At six miles across, it's roughly the size of Mt. Everest. Too large to pass without indicent, it is captured by Earth's gravity. It begins its brief entry into the astmosphere, but its massive size prevents it from decelerating or breaking apart. The asteroid strikes the planet with the force of 100 million megatons of TNT, equivalent to more than seven and a half billion Hiroshima bombs, creating a crater more than 165 miles in diameter.
1200 square miles of devastated forest. Trees knocked down in a circle, emanating from a swampy center. Evidence of a massive fire... but no meteorite. Scientists determined that whatever struck Siberia hit with a force of more than 20 million tons of TNT, equivalent to more than 1500 Hiroshimas. post a comment