Watch What Would Happen If We Nuked the Challenger Deep With 1 Million Tsar Bombas

·3 min read

From Popular Mechanics

Finally, science has answered the key question of our time: What would happen if you detonated many tons of explosives in the deepest place on the entire Earth?

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In 1961, the Soviet Union tested “Tsar Bomba,” a 27-ton, 26-foot-long bomb that remains the biggest thermonuclear weapon of all time. The mushroom cloud reached an altitude of 210,000 feet, people observed the flash through bad weather at 621 miles, and an observer felt heat from the explosion at a distance of 168 miles.

While nobody was killed in the test, which was held in one of the most remote regions of the Soviet Union, if Tsar Bomba fell on Washington, D.C., it would've killed 2.2 million people and spread dangerous levels of radioactivity as far away as Pennsylvania, according to NUKEMAP.

Now, YouTube’s “HOWEVER” channel posits a million Tsar Bombas that are sunk into the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, with rippling ramifications for our whole planet’s crust:

One major factor here is that the extreme pressure inside the Challenger Deep would do a lot to stanch even the most powerful nuclear bomb ever made. Without air and with the weight and pressure of tens of thousands of feet of water, the explosion itself would be much smaller. But the hot spot that resulted in the water itself could turn a regular tropical storm into a typhoon and cause radiation effects for people on land.

That’s interesting, but if enough Tsar Bombas were dropped into the Challenger Deep, there would be half-a-mile-high waves and a fracture that digs all the way to Earth’s mantle. The explosive force would throw rock and water nearly to the Karman line. And while huge portions of cities around the world would be washed over and destroyed by enormous waves, what happened underneath the Challenger Deep would be even worse.

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With a freshly opened doorway to the mantle, molten rock would flood upward, filling the Mariana Trench and overflowing the area with magma. The seismic, tectonic impact could trigger the Ring of Fire to erupt as well. All of this would fill the atmosphere with far more carbon dioxide, changing the makeup of our formly breathable air and trapping heat.

This is a thought experiment that wouldn’t be possible in real life, but reflects some of our anxieties and contingency plans around the potential for nuclear war. The real thing would be more violent on land, more immediately devastating to humankind, and with extreme fallout that lasted for decades. But at least there wouldn't be volcanoes.

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