If a nuclear bomb blew up in the ocean, how big would the tsunami get?

Is there a bomb big enough to wipe out the world if it hit on land, or in the water. What is the biggest, most damaging bomb in the world. Which is worse a hydrogen bomb or an atom bomb. Is the hydrogen bomb the one that sends shockwaves?

12 Answers

  • Favourite answer

    Well considering that Krakatoa erupted in the ocean The ground shook in the wake of the blast which was heard over 4500km and was estimated to be equal to the detonation of over 21,000 atomic bombs. It is safe to say that if you detonated 21, 000 atomic bombs in the ocean it would have a similar effect.

    and then... The Horizon Vanishes: Tsunamis

    "...all of a sudden there came a great noise. We...saw a great black thing, a long way off, coming towards us. It was very high and very strong, and we soon saw that it was water" - From A. Scarth, 1999

    Upon the third and catastrophic explosion of Krakatoa, enormous tsunamis were generated by the displaced water as the island collapsed into the caldera. These waves moved with great speed across the Sundra Straits reaching a height of around 40m tall before slamming into the nearby coastlines. Smaller tsunamis had pounded the local villages in the previous days eruptions but nothing compared to this mammoth wave. Many small coastal islands were completely submerged and as the wave hit the mainland islands of Java and Sumatra it ravaged towns and villages while stripping away nearly all vegetation. In some cases, whole towns of several thousand people were washed away in a flash destroying and sign they had ever been there. Accounts exist of villagers scrambling up inland hills to escape the waves. Often only the small top of a hill would be spared by the enormous current leaving former neighbors in great struggle with one another, while trying to maintain a safe position from the waves.

    Many ships in the Sunrda Straits at the time of the eruption met a similar fate as the villagers on the coasts. Many were caught unaware in the torrent and thrown across the sea. Once such ship, the Berouw(seen right), was carried over a mile inland and deposited on a position 10m above sea level. However, some ships were fortunate enough to be maneuvered head-first into the swells only receiving minor injury onboard.

    According to Dutch authorities, 90 percent of the over 36,000 deaths were attributed to the devastating tsunamis. Bodies lined the coasts for weeks and thousands of livestock were found throughout the Sundra Straits


    On August 27th, 1883 a series of blasts on the island of Krakatoa culminated in a colossal explosion that blew the island apart in one of the largest eruptions in recorded history. Below are a few brief facts about the blast and its effects.

    1. The 23km square island of Krakatoa existed at a height of 450m above sea level. The blast leveled most of the island to 250m below sea level.

    2. Pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 40km from the island consuming traversing ships in fire and ash.

    3. The sound of the final explosion was heard over 4500km away and covered 1/13th of the Earth's surface.

    4. The eruption generated tsunamis 40m high that devastated nearby coastlines.

    5. The final death toll from pyroclastic flows, volcanic bombs, and tsunamis was calculated to be a devastating 36,417.

    Considering the fact that the atomic bombs that have been detonated have not even been heard or noticed by people I would say that a volcano is more powerful than any human bomb!

  • 1 decade ago

    Atomic Bombs (A-bomb) use nuclear fission and the Hydrogen Bomb (H-bomb) uses nuclear fusion, which is more powerful (over a thousand times more powerful). As of now, a single nuclear weapon is capable of destroying an entire city. (I doubt anyone would or could build something powerful enough to destroy the entire world, but I guess you never know.) Both bombs deliver shockwaves. I'm not sure how big a tsunami would get or what kind of destruction it would leave. I guess there are a lot of factors in that, including how big the bomb is and where in the ocean (and WHAT ocean) it is dropped in.

  • Roxie
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Nuclear weapons work on the principle of essentially converting mass into energy. Basically when you split a heavy atom, it releases energy. On a more in-depth level, think of the atom as a Jenga set with a bunch of blocks removed. If you threw a marble at it, it would collapse because it is inherently unstable. This theory applies the weapons grade uranium and plutonium, with the added effect of when you throw the marble (a neutron) at the Jenga set (an atom), it releases energy several orders of magnitude more powerful than any conventional explosive. On the answer as two what happens if you put one in the ocean, essentially it creates a mini-tsunami due to the pressure shockwave and flash boils most of the water in the immediate vicinity of the bomb effectively cooking the marine life for miles. A nuclear bomb can blow up either a large area, or very little dependent on the yield (power of the weapon) and the weapon configuration itself. Nuclear fallout is also dependent on the weapon used in combination with variables such as wind patterns, type of nuclear fuel used and height at which the weapon detonates. Currently on North Korea actively tests nuclear weapons, although many countries maintain nuclear stockpiles. Among them are the USA, Russia, England, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and China.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Not really, most earthquakes that generate tsunamis, even the 7.7 that wiped out parts of Indonesia, still have the power of thousands of atom bombs. From a large hydrogen bomb or nuclear bomb would, if the radiation didn't cause the fish to get cancer and develop legs and a tattoo that says "MOM" in a heart on it's chest, then maybe it may generate only a 10 foot wave, depending on the distance of the detonation relative to the shore. Hope that I was able to help.

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  • Curly
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Not very. The energy that created the big Tsunami in indonesia was 8.7 on the Richter scale. The energy in it was HUGE.

    The largest nuclear weapon admitted is the Mother of all Bombs, a 600 megaton monster designed by soviet russia. The energy of the earthquake itself was about 10 Gigatons (~20 times bigger than MOAB) but the real energy was in the potential energy of the ocean dropping 20 feet over that huge distance. So its unlikely that a single bomb could destroy the planet.

    You are asking a false either-or question by asking if hydrogen or atom is worse. By atom you mean fission, and by hydrogen you mean fusion, but the most powerful are the three-stage fission-fusion-fission.

    All nuclear bombs send shockwaves.

  • AresIV
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    All nuclear weapons send shock waves...

    No one bomb is big enough to take out the world...

    And the hydrogen bomb is the most destructive by about 10-100 fold depending on the size...

    They detonated an H-bomb and wiped out a small island in the pacific, it was the only H-bomb ever tested... It created a shockwave and tidal wave that destroyed over 80 percent of unmanned ships sitting 10-20 miles off the coast of this island.

  • Mark V
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    H-bombs (fusion bombs) are about 1000 times more powerful than A-bombs (fission bombs). In fact, a fusion bomb uses a fission bomb as a trigger, kind of like a blasting cap is used to set off a stick of dynamite. The power of fission bombs is usually measured in kilotons, fusion bombs in megatons. A kiloton is the explosive power of 1000 tons of dynamite. A megaton is a thousand kilotons.

    The A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were about 15 or 20 kilotons in power. The typical H-bomb in the US arsenal today is between 500 kilotons and 5 megatons. The largest fusion bomb ever exploded was 50 megatons, by the Russians.

    These are big, destructive explosions on the scale of human things, like cities. But compared to natural events, they are not so big. As mentioned above, volcanic explosions like Krakatoa are much bigger, and asteriod impacts can make even H-bombs look like firecrackers.

    The asteroid impact that ended the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was described to me once like this: Take all the world's nuclear weapons, the entire arsenal, and pile them up in one place. Set them all off at the same instant. Now multiply the power of the resulting explosion by about 10 thousand, and you get the size of event which killed the dinosaurs. The impact occurred on the shoreline of the Yucatan peninsula, and created a crater known as Chixulub.

  • extton
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Detonating a nuclear bomb under water does not make a tsunami (we know this because many nukes have been detonated under water).

    There is no bomb that could wipe out the world.

    The "Tsar Bomba" was the most powerful bomb ever made. It was a 50 megaton hydrogen bomb made by the russians.

    Hydrogen bombs (also known as "fusion bombs") are more powerful than atom bombs (also known as "fission bombs").

    All nuclear bombs - atom and hydrogen - create shockwaves when detonated.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The neutron bomb is potentially the most powerful. How big the tsunami would be, if there was one, would depend on the size of the bomb, the depth at which it exploded, how far from land it was and the terrain over which the wave traveled.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The US has lit off many a nuclear bomb under the ocean, and not much happened.

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