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It's already unwieldy, but...[edit]


The title List of the largest non-nuclear explosions is already a mouthful but nonetheless, it needs amending to include the words man made. None of the explosions in the article were as powerful or as devastating at the eruption/s of Krakatoa. Anyone agree? Moriori 00:07, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree - Trevor MacInnis(Talk Contribs) 00:30, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Go ahead. - Alureiter 01:01, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Trans-siberia pipeline explosion[edit]

I removed the Trans-siberia pipeline explosion from the article. Could be an urban legend, much indicates that all that is written about it comes from the same source. Jonathan Karlsson 10:22, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

You think Farewell Dossier is fake? The article seems to have lots of sources. I think it should be put back to the list. Kdehl 20:45, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The dossier itself doesn't mention any explosion, let alone 'the most monumental nonnuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space' - that come from the Safire newspaper story. Again, feel free to provide any confirmation that there was such an explosion. Lars T. 14:06, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Nanaimo mine explosion[edit]

The 1887 Nanaimo mine explosion might be a candidate for the list, if information supports it. Prior to the Halifax Explosion, it was the largest manmade explosion.--Westendgirl 08:43, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

PEPCON rocket fuel factory[edit]

Where does the explosion of the PEPCON rocket fuel factory in Henderson Nevada rank in the scheme of things (May 1988 i think)? I don't think it was very devastating because of it's remoteness but it was supposedly very powerful. Any info or input? [Sorry first post ever hope im doing this correctly (infiniti757)]


Frankly I think this is a silly entry, although the information is interesting. Shouldn't this simply be under 'Famous Explosions' in Explosion? I mean, if anyone would look for the largest man-made non-nuclear explosions, that's were he would look. Feel free to disagree of course. Piet 13:44, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Murmansk ammo dump[edit]

There was a 'major' (news report at the time) ammo dump exploded near Murmansk in the late 80's or maybe early 90's. That was reported as one of the largest ever. But I can't find a reference today to it's actuall size. Any know enough about it to add it? 6 Dec 2005

Order of entries[edit]

The entries don't seem to be in any order at present -- either date order (ascending or descending), or est explosion size, or A-Z by location should be chosen. mervyn 13:43, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. Date seems to me to be the most sensible - it's easily obtainable and doesn't have the ambiguity of location or the possible contradictions of size. I'd prefer ascending (oldest first). If no-one objects, I'll probably do that in a day or two. Nineworlds 20:51, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I've just sorted it newest to oldest. There's a few which don't have their own articles - the 1949 explosion in Prum, the Heligoland explosion (though that's mentioned on the linked page), and the Braamfontein explosion (ditto).
Thinking about it, Prum itself is probably borderline for inclusion - most of the modern explosions are notably greater than 500t. Perhaps move it onto the relevant page instead of here? The Braamfontein one is also pretty small, 56t, but I suppose at the time... Shimgray talk 18:16, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps the article would flow more smoothly if a formal style of presentation was adopted; ie either giving the NAME of each specific incident at the start of each line, or the DAY MONTH YEAR ... At present it appears fractious. What do you think? Simmyymmis 23:59, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The Japanese version of this article seems much more clear to me. Each events are sorted into decades, and have their name dates written in the first line, followed with the outline of the event. Perhaps English version can adopt this... [Madhatter]
2010 redux

I can't point to a specific guideline or WP:MOS, but my assumption is that the contents should be presented in chronological order. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 22:52, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

The list as currently ordered is rather odd, as the sections themselves are in order from older to newer, but within sections, the explosions are in order from newer to older (as far as I have noticed). Shouldn't it all be older to newer (or the other way 'round)?--Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 20:56, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Fuel bombs[edit]

Again, we need data on what appears to be a classified subject... 22:58, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

wasn't there somethingh in north korea?[edit]

about a year or so back, a giant explosion was picked up on seismometers which was speculated to be a nuclear test, but north korea claimed that it was just a lot of conventional explosives being used to demolish a mountain.Wouldn't that count? or did it turn out to be nuclear?[[1]][[2]]or was it just not-that-big? 22:51, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

  • See Ryanggang explosion. --Fastfission 01:58, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the original poster, it should be included.Evilbu 15:30, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, there was an explosion in Ryongchon, when a load of ammonium nitrate exploded at a train station. See this for more info. -- 17:22, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Silvertown explosion[edit]

Should the 1917 TNT explosion at Silvertown be listed? Warofdreamstalk 10:37, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Removed entries[edit]

I've removed the following entries from the article:

  • 15 July1949 an explosion of 500 ton of ammunition in a underground storage made a crater in the Calvariemountain in the German town of Prüm. Stones blown away destroyed much of the houses that had just been restored from war damage. Twelve people were killed in the blast, but presumably more deaths were prevented due to an early evacuation.
  • Braamfontein explosion. On February 161896, 56 tons of dynamite exploded on a train in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa and 78 people were killed.

Compared to equivalent incidents in the same time frame, these aren't desperately large, and the page is documenting 'largest'. I've left in the absolute smallest, as it's also the oldest one.... Feel free to reinstate them, though. Shimgray talk 22:55, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I'd also remove the sentence which says : 'Similar tests were reportedly carried out in the 1970s in the far north jungles of Queensland, Australia, to test the feasibility of nuclear weapons for clearing forests in the Vietnam War.' In reality there was ONE test called Operation Blowdown on 18 July 1963 at Iron Range in North Queensland. The Australian Defence Science Laboratories exploded 50 tonnes of TNT on a 43m tower to test the effect of nuclear weapons in rainforest. I think that is well below the threshold of 'largest' explosions. There is a clip of the explosion on the web at <> The results have never been released officially, but rumour says the explosion had surprisingly little effect on vegetation. I doubt that Vietnam was on many Australian minds when the test was planned - likely conflict with Indonesia over Malaysia or West Irian was the principal military issue at the time. Peter Bell (talk) 06:34, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I've removed the Delft explosion, and inserted Great Torrington - if Delft was there because of age and size, Torrington was older and larger. Dave Briggs (talk) 17:45, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


'Black Tom explosion. On July 30, 1916 1,000 tons of explosives bound for Europe, along with another 50 tons on the Johnson Barge No.17, exploded in Jersey City, New Jersey, a major dock serving New York. There were few deaths, but about 100 injuries; also, the buildings on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty were damaged, along with much of Jersey City. '

How can an explosion in 1916 harm the Statue of Liberty?

Yes that is very weird, the lady was only about thirty years old, so why didn't she duck and cover, she was still young enough!?Please read Statue_of_liberty

Yup. The statue was given by France to the US in 1885, and was inaugurated in 1886. Hugo Dufort 23:49, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Separate list?[edit]

Might it not make sense to seperate this list into those which were accidental vs. intentional explosions (e.g. Ripple Rock)? Maybe even both on the same page, but in seperate lists. I think they're different enough subjects that they shouldn't all be lumped together like that. -- Lurlock 03:46, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Nuclear explosions should be included.

Enschede disaster[edit]

In 2000, a fireworks storage exploded.

see Enschede_fireworks_disaster Dutch article has some pics.Should it be included?

Evilbu 15:26, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Oil Storage Terminal[edit]

'Since the invention of high explosives, there have been a number of extremely large explosions, many accidental. This list contains the largest known examples, sorted by date. The weight of the explosive does not directly correlate with the size of the explosion, so an accurate ranking of these explosions is impossible.'

'2005 Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal fire. On 11 December 2005 there were a series of major explosions at the 60 million gallon (273 million litre) capacity Buncefield oil depot near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. The explosions were heard over 100 miles away, as far as the Netherlands and France, and the resulting flames were visible for many miles around the depot. A smoke cloud covered Hemel Hempstead and other nearby towns in southern Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. There were no fatalities, but there were around 43 injuries (two serious).'

Oils(hydrocarbons) are not high explosives.Dudtz 10/10/06 6:19 PM EST

No mining explosions???[edit]

All of this article is a bit academic and misleading really, when you consider that most of the largest man made conventional explosions have occured in mining operations as part of daily operations. For example, a 1kt (TNT equivalent) explosion of ANFO in a coal mine is considered 'average' in some circles. Apauza 08:05, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely correct, there are economies of scale associated with explosives in certain situations, especially when you want to excavate an area and use the explosion to move the rock into a more convenient place. Every year in Australia there are mining explosions that rival Hiroshima and most mines spend far more on ANFO (at about 20c US a kilo) than they do on any other business expense (including labor). Aussie Jim 11:02, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

What is the North Korean nuke test doing in this list?[edit]

According to most sources, the NK nuclear test was indeed a nuclear test. Its yield was most probably between 0.5 kt - 2 kt. Whether the test was a dud, a fizzle, a partial success or a full-fledged nuclear explosion is not clear right now. However, even if the blast had been created using chemical explosives (which is very unlikely), it would still be too weak to figure in this list. So what's the point? A Wikipedia article like this one should be reliable and not rely on unverified theories, rumors and ongoing investigations. By the way, this list is about high explosives and not nukes. Hugo Dufort 20:45, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, I am going to remove it until it is determined to be non-nuclear. From the two citations I get The working assumption remains that it was a nuclear test from one and the other says they don't know. Speculation does not belong here. HighInBC 15:04, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

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Yield: kiloton assessment[edit]

It would be nice, when data is available, to give an assessment of the explosion's force (in kilotons). I've added the data for the Halifax Explosion because it is among the most documented (the exact amount and nature of the explosive was known and the explosion's effects were extensively studied) -- its yield was around 2.9-3.0 kt. Now it would be nice to add similar data to other entries in this list. Hugo Dufort 18:00, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It's hard to compare these things without TNT equivalent figures. Any demolitions experts or chemists out there who can contribute these? I can do estimates based on what I read but I'm sure I wouldn't be taking into account certain things making my figures inaccurate. -- MiG 09:44, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


This article needs to cite its references for it to be valid. Langara College 06:15, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

No it doesn't. As long as the linked articles on the explosions have references, we don't need to repeat them here. Hrimfaxi 12:04, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
This is an old comment, but the error needs to be corrected anyway. The burden of verification is the same for lists as for regular articles, and it's not good enough to claim that a reference exists in a linked article, just as it would be insufficient in a regular article. See Wikipedia:LIST#Listed_items, which reaffirms WP:V's assertions that 'if material is challenged or likely to be challenged, it is the responsibility of the editor who adds or restores the material to an article to cite sources for that material' and that 'any material lacking a reliable source may be removed'. If there are references in the linked article, it should be easy enough for the editor adding to this list to reference his/her claims, and the burden is on him/her to do so. Unreferenced and inadequately referenced lists do not satisfy Wikipedia policy. Baileypalblue (talk) 07:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Sea Launch explosion[edit]

According to [3], a recent launch on a Sea Launch ship resulted in a rocket with 500 tons of rocket fuel exploded. As such, it seems like that would qualify the Sea Launch incident for inclusion in this article. TerraFrost 02:31, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

I removed the bit in the MOAB section about it being used in afghanistan. It has not been used in combat operations.

Minor Scale looks bigger than Halifax[edit]

Official accounts say 4.8 kts on AFNO. At a relative strength of 0.8, this gives 4kt, an often quoted strengthof the test. So it definitely looks bigger than Halifax, though not as dramatic and destructive. LouScheffer 23:15, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Candidates should be discussed here[edit]

  • Candidate explosion (uncertain whether it qualifies yet): 2006 Falk Corporation explosion

This was in the article, and while it sounds like a big explosion it doesn't really discuss how big on an explosive scale. Anynobody 05:33, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Candidate explosion: 1947 Kandersteg Munitions Bunker Explosion

7kT of munitions and well documented. Here are a couple of links:— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nashernasher (talk • contribs) 11:03, 20 December 2017 (UTC)

Smederovo fortress[edit]

I don’t know the size of the Smederevo fortress explosion in Serbia, 5 June 1941, an (accidental?) explosion of German ammunition, but with c2500 dead it must have been large.

  • PS: I don’t think the list should include bombing from aircraft, although the total dropped in some WWII raids on particular targets/cities must have been in the hundreds of tons? Hugo999 00:57, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

If the Mines in the Battle of the Messines killed 10,000 german troops, how is Smederovo Fortress even on the list as most lethal non-nuclear explosion with a quarter of that (2500)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

SS John Burke Explosion should be high on the list[edit]

I'd like to see the December 28, 1944 explosion of the SS John Burke included in the list of major non-nulcear explosions. It must have been several thousand tons of ammunition. Check out these pics and I think you would agree it's quite impressive.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:33, 6 December 2007 (UTC)


I've tried to clarify the use of the word 'tons'. In doing so have made some assumptions:

I have provided metric equivalents (tonnes) for the long and short tons where they occur.

Blaise (talk) 20:01, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

See Also[edit]

I added a see also section, because after looking at this article, it made me wonder about the list of the largest nuclear explosions. I hope this strikes everyone as an OK idea. Perhaps if we have a list somewhere of the largest natural explosions, that would fit well, too? Faithfully, Deltopia (talk) 00:22, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


What's with the math here? At point point I see this: The most powerful non-nuclear weapons ever designed are the United States' MOAB (standing for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, also nicknamed Mother Of All Bombs, tested in 2003) and the RussianFather of All Bombs (tested in 2007), about 4 times more powerful than the MOAB). The MOAB packs 18,700 lb (8.5 tonnes) of the H6 explosive, which is 1.35 times as powerful as TNT. This gives the bomb an approximate yield of 0.025 kt. As a matter of comparison, it would require 118 MOABs to equate the Halifax Explosion.Now, 18.7 * 1.35 / 2.2 (rough conversion to kilotons) equals 11.5kt. Where does this '0.025' figure come from? Also, the MOAB article seems to agree with the 11.5 number (though it only says 11).--Mylon (talk) 04:55, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Your conversion to kilotons is off by a factor of 1000. A MOAB could not have a yield of 11.5 kt because that's close to the yield of the Hiroshima fission bomb. Taking into account that correction, the MOAB should have a yield of about 11 t (which is what the MOAB article says). I think the original author must have multiplied 18.7 kilopounds by the 1.35 efficiency factor without converting to metric units. I corrected the article so that the yield of the MOAB is listed as 0.011 t (to two significant figures), making the 2.9 kt Halifax explosion equivalent to about 250 MOAB blasts. Ketone16 (talk) 21:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Just a point - you have a typo in that last sentence; it should be 0.011 kT, not t. SkoreKeep (talk) 06:31, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

The Multan Explosion[edit]

I would like to add this in the 'Before 1900' section.

Siege of Multan . On December 30, 1848, in Multan during the Second Anglo-Sikh War ,'A shell from a mortar struck a mosque in the city which had been turnedinto a magazine and stored with 400,000 lbs. of gunpowder.It blew up with a tremendous explosion which shook the earth formany miles round, and darkened the air with smoke and fragments.'-- from [ The HistoryThe History of India by John Clark Marshman, Volume III] page 340.

The citation is necessary because Siege_of_Multan doesn't mention thesize = 400,000 lbs = 200 short tons. This is comparable to the Mobileexplosion.

Any objections?

Peter Gulutzan (talk) 17:53, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Beirut Baracks Explosion[edit]

More than 5 tonnes of tnt... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jeannassar5 (talk • contribs) 23:25, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Pipeline sabotage[edit]

The energy release seems plausible, but as a fire and not an explosion. 3 kilotons = 1.2x1013 joules. Natural gas burned gives off 3.9x107 joules per standard cubic meter. Big pipelines run at about 100 atm pressure, and have roughly 1 m2 cross section, so it takes about 3 km of pipeline to have enough gas to release this much energy. This would take at least 10 seconds to leak out of even a large failure (speed of sound is 340 m/sec). But to explode, rather than burn, it would all need to be mixed with air at the correct proportion, between 5 and 15 percent - see What is Natural Gas? Natural Gas Properties. If it leaks fast, the area around the leak could not have nearly enough oxygen. If it leaks slowly, the natural gas would rise since it's mostly methane which is lighter than air. So even if there was some ignition source, you'd likely get a big fireball, but not an explosion.

Incidentally, and perhaps not relevant to this article, this type is accident is fairly common, just by accident and not sabotage. See, for example, Industrial Control Systems Killed Once and Will Again, Experts Warn . by Ryan Singel. So even if it did happen, an accident could explain it as well.

The original source says explosion and fire, without specifying how much of each, and this article is specifically about explosion (and surely there have been much larger fires). So I think it's best to remove it, at least until someone can find a reference to the size of the explosion. (I looked and could not find much on the web, and from Talk:Farewell Dossier no-one else has yet found other sources to back this up.) LouScheffer (talk) 16:28, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Here's the text, for easy reference:

  • Siberian pipeline sabotage - in 1982 the CIA allegedly had the company insert a logic bomb in the advanced automated control software (SCADA) software of the Siberian pipeline for sabotage purposes. 'The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.'[1]

@LouScheffer: I apologize for responding nearly seven years later. I agree with removal of this content. I have found a few sources (e.g. Thomas Rid[4] and Jeffrey Carr[5]) that view this with extreme skepticism. The only evidence of this comes from the person making the claim, Thomas C. Reed. - Location (talk) 02:13, 31 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^Thomas Reed, At the Abyss : An Insider's History of the Cold WarISBN0891418210

N-1 Soviet Moon Rocket[edit]

The N-1 carried 1750 tons of fuel, and at least one of its four launch failures was an early first-stage explosion that involved most of that fuel. DonPMitchell (talk) 05:30, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

- Yes. The N-1 has been cited as the largest non-nuclear explosion by the N-1 wiki page. It needs to be on here —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:18, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

It is true that the N-1 has fewer kilotons of mass than (for example) Minor Scale, but kerosene-LOX has a significantly higher energy release per kg than TNT, which is the standard for kilotons of energy. LouScheffer (talk) 15:51, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

--The measure of explosions should be compared in terms of impulse and not the total energy released. In a rocket, as the fuel and oxidant are compartmentalized, and it would certainly take time for them to mix and burn, thereby bringing down the impulse of the explosion. Therefore there might a huge energy equivalent released in N-1 catastrophe, but it might not have exploded, as we all think, like a 'bomb'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chetanshaw (talk • contribs) 17:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

The N1 (rocket) article's lead claims 'Due to the second launch attempt, the N-1 made the largest artificial non-nuclear explosion in history with about 14,000,000 pounds (nearly 7kt) of explosives' it's tagged '[citation needed].' The explosion was on the launch pad meaning the maximum amount of fuel would have been available. However, the body of the article does not say it was a large explosion and only mentions that the rocket and launch tower were destroyed.
That statement in the lead seems speculative as the rocket itself, when fully fueled, weighed either 2,735 or 2,788 metric tons (depending on if you use the infobox or body of the article) or 3,015 to 3,073 short tons. The article does not say how much of that weight was the fuel but this German page lists the weights of the stages. For the N-1 it's a 2,709.4 metric ton rocket with 2,499.7 metric tons of fuel. The N-1F, which seems to be the one flown, was a 2,980.1 metric ton rocket with 2,774.9 metric tons of fuel. Let's use 2,774.9 metric tons of fuel which works out to 3,059 short tons. (Note, the German page is a personal web site for someone who describes himself as a food chemist, software developer, and his hobby is space and rockets. While his web site would not be a reliable source we'll assume he's using a reliable source.)
FWIW, the N-1 article claims the 3L launch resulted in an explosion at 12 km while the German says the rocket reached 14 km before turning down and eventually hitting the earth from the 45 km the launch site. For the 5L launch, that resulted in claimed 'largest explosion' the German has it lifting off and reaching 200m before the engines switched off and the rocket crashed down on the launch pad with 2,600 tons of fuel on board. I'll assume that's metric tons and that we have 2,866 short tons.
Can 3,059 short tons of RP-1/LOX be translated into '7kt of explosives?' I don't know how to do the math.
Whoever made the '7kt of explosives' claim must also have made the assumption that the all of the RP-1/LOX fuel mixed and thus exploded at once. A 100% mix seems unlikely as the rocket was sitting on the launch pad.
It seems more likely they had a spectacular fire with multiple small explosions on the launch pad as the fuel tanks were breached. The event proceeded slowly enough that N-1's Launch escape system successfully extracted the payload.
Supporting the 'spectacular fire' theory is a photo on the German's web page where you can see the destroyed launch complex to the upper-right but immediately next to it are at least two large towers that were not knocked down by the incident.
NASA has which looks like a good source. I don't know why the N-1 does not use it more. Page 228-229 describes the launch and destruction in great detail.
I'm proposing:
  • The 'the largest artificial non-nuclear explosion in history' claim be removed from the N-1 article.
  • That the N-1 incident be either removed from this list or can be footnoted in that an N-1 rocket was launched but the engines shut down 12 seconds (200m) into the flight and that the rocket, containing 2,500 short tons of RP-1/LOX fuel fell onto the launch pad. A series of explosions followed but that the explosive power, for ranking it on this list, can't be determined.
--Marc Kupper talk 04:39, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Oklahoma City Bombing[edit]

Another candidate to consider was the Oklahoma City Bombing which involved 3.5 tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel. DonPMitchell (talk) 05:36, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I added the reference. I agree that it needs to be here given the damage done, the size (the bomb itself was three times larger than the Manchester bomb which is included on this list), and the fact that it was the largest pre-9/11 terrorist attack in the U.S. (talk) 18:31, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Both entries (and also some others) should not be part of the list. Those explosions were rather small--more than three orders of magnitude smaller than the largest entries! That hardly counts as contender for 'largest artifical non-nuclear exposion'. BTW: A single Tallboy or Grand Slam bomb and many blockbuster bombs created a bigger explosion then 3.2t of fertilzer-anfo. Should we list every usage of those here? Must be thousands. IMHO we should set some threshold, like says, an incident must have the strength of 500kt TNT equivalent or more to be listed here. The old sorting by strength was also much more useful BTW than the current one. (talk) 00:39, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I removed both. They might be included if this becomes a list of largest explosions per decade. --gribeco (talk) 20:28, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Anybody know about the Nixon Nitration explosion in what is now Edison, N.J.? It was near the site of the former Raritan Arsenal, now Raritan Center industrial park, Middlesex Community College and several other uses. A local source (wish I could find it again), lead me to believe the blast might have in or near the kiloton range. I think it was between the World Wars. (talk) 03:53, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

African explosion[edit]

I know of one other large explosion, not listed, which happened near Francistown in Bechuanaland (now Botswana)in 1940 or 1941 when I was at school near Bulawayo. A train load of dynamite bound for the copper mines in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) exploded on a bridge. The blast rattled windows in Bulawayo over 150 km away. Perhaps someone can find details of this.David H Eccles (talk) 02:50, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

USS Arizona[edit]

I notice that a number of explosions of warships are included in the World War II era. Why not the explosion of USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor? --Yaush (talk) 00:26, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

I noticed this too. In terms of lives lost, it ranks right up there with the worst warship magazine explosions, though I don't know enough to comment on the strength of the blast. I'm in favor of adding it though for its historical significance. Dcs002 (talk) 06:26, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Battle of the Crater?[edit]

Has anyone selecting items for this list considered the US Civil War Battle of the Crater?

The TNT amounted to '8,000 pounds (3,600 kg)' according to that article, which might not be a large enough explosion for this list, but in terms of damage done, seems to be well worth considering. You can see a recreation of it at the start of the movie Cold Montain, which struck me as being actually less devastating than the blast actually was. IvyGold (talk) 01:30, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Need to standardize inclusion criteria[edit]

A lot of discussion has gone back and forth on this page concerning individual entries as compared to other entries (i.e., this one was bigger than that one, so it should be included or that one should be removed). Among all the talk about tons of TNT and lives lost, I think we should also be considering historical significance. I've commented above that I think the explosion of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor should be included for its historical significance. I think similar arguments could be made for the Oklahoma City bombing and the Kobe Towers bombing. (I'm American, and my sense of historical significance is therefore biased in favor of including these events, but as an American, I perceive a European bias in what's currently included in this list.)

So, I'd like to humbly propose that we include explosions in which a certain minimum number of people were killed OR which released a certain amount of energy OR are determined (by consensus) to have been historically significant.

Any comments on standardizing inclusion criteria? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dcs002 (talk • contribs) 06:47, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Agree and suggest:[edit]

If we opt strictly for munitions, the whole halifax event should be discarded, as it was a mixed munitions and raw explosive materials involved. Such is considered wrong, so the proposed definition for inclusion is below. Please help by adding-expanding it.

>Maximum Yield occured by a conventional (ie. non nuclear) explosion, whether it was a test, a scheduled surplus munitions destruction or an accidental explosion, of either munitions or other explosive materials involved.

Lists of things, people or events can be grown enormous in Wikipedia, due to inherent problems such as inclusion criteria. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Makrisj (talk • contribs) 02:18, 20 July 2011 (UTC)


Why do all the sections run backwards?? Why is this illogical?

WP MoS clearly says earliest first with newer last. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

  • It's not as simple as this - the 'Post World War II era' and '2001-present' sections run (with a couple of exceptions) reverse chronologically. The others run the other way. The order needs to be consistent. Thryduulf (talk) 00:55, 12 December 2011 (UTC)


I think the destruction of the Parthenon should be included here. Loss of life is unknown, and explosive force hard to estimate and likely not that high, but the cultural impact is disproportionately high. (talk) 02:24, 14 April 2012 (UTC)


What about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, I have heard the size of the explosion being compared to that of a small atomic bomb and there were certainly hundreds of tonnes of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the external tank. Björn Knutson (talk) 22:55, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

There was no 'explosion' in the typical sense. When the main fuel tank disintegrated it released a cloud of hydrogen which burned. There was a fireball, much like the Hindenburg disaster, but it was not explosive. --Marc Kupper talk 01:28, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Another candidate for a waaaaay before 1900?[edit]

There was a battle in and for Rhodes (as in the island in the Mediterranean, now part of Greece) in (????) medieval times. The battle was at a stalemate until someone stole all of the gunpowder and hid it somewhere. It was never discovered. Until a couple of hundred years later, when lightning struck the tower of the church, resulting in a massive explosion that destroyed many of the buildings.

Whilst nowhere near the size or power of modern explosions, I submit that this is a worthwhile inclusion because of its age. (talk) 18:13, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

1947 Texas City explosion[edit]

This article (with no citation) states that the amount of ammonium nitrate on the SS Grandcamp was 8,500 short tons (7,700 t), while the Texas City Disaster article (with a citation) lists it as 2,300 tons (2,086,100 kg). So which is it? Should this page be changed? (talk) 18:16, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Too many ships[edit]

The list is overwhelmed by wartime incidents of ship magazines exploding after being shelled or torpedoed. While sinkings thus usually resulted in ghastly loss of life, the explosions themselves were not particularly large compared to accidents in fertilizer or ordinance factories or transport.--Froglich (talk) 10:41, 20 April 2013 (UTC)


The article claims 'modern high explosives are far more energetic than gunpowder'. I think this is not true. High explosives produce a stronger shockwave, because they detonate rather than deflagrate, but in general they have comparable total energy release per unit mass. Maybe the statement just needs to be rephrased? If the claim is that it's literally true, then I definitely want to see a reference. --Trovatore (talk) 21:46, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Japanese Imperial Army ammunition dump exploded in Hirakata[edit]

Some of the text in this section appears to be garbled. Was a phrase or two left out or unintentionally deleted? Fred4570 (talk) 18:40, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Colecturía de San Andrés[edit]

This, during the mexican-french war, could be one of the top ten before 1900. Below the article in spanish— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Richmond, IN ?[edit]

Can someone add the April 6, 1968 Richmond, IN natural gas explosion? 41 died. Or, should that go somewhere else?L. Thomas W. (talk) 15:01, 6 December 2013 (UTC) L. Thomas W. L. Thomas W. (talk) 15:01, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Battle of Negro Fort[edit]

The article on the 1816 Battle of Negro Fort documents the destruction caused by the explosion of a powder magazine and the loss of 270 lives (see the Reference site at, Not only was the loss of life tremendous, but the result was also historically significant to the United States.

I am not sure how to go about estimating the energy release of the explosion, however.

I will include this entry myself if no one objects within a month (e.g., end of January 2014) -- if I remember.

Nicole Tedesco 19:47, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Corunna 1809[edit]

Another Before 1900 candidate

During Sir John Moore's retreat from Spain in the Peninsular War, on Friday 13 January 1809, the British fired a magazine of 4,000 barrels of blackpowder (200 short tons) near Corruna to deny it to the advancing French. Although planned, the blast killed three men in an exposed position over a mile away, it also shattered all the windows in Corunna and raised a wave that swept the harbor and its 140 ships at anchor.

Citations:p. 321 THE YEARS OF VICTORY - 1802-1812 By Arthur Bryant, London 1944'... a huge magazine of four thousand barrels of powder, sent out in haste from England at the beginning of the war and since left undistributed and unused. This was fired on the 13th, causing an explosion which broke every window in the town, swept the harbour with a tidal wave and killed a sergeant and two men on piquet more than a mile away.'

p 721 LEX MERCATORIA REDIVIVA By Wyndham Beawes, Dublin 1754'A Barrel of Gunpowder is 100 Pound, and 24 Barrels make a Last.'(A 'last' is about 120 cubic feet, representing a load in terms of cargo space) (talk) 20:36, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Incipient possible explosion with numbers right up there with the biggies.[edit]

OK, this hasn't happened, and hopefully never will, but what if the 1700 tons of high explosive on the SS Richard Montgomery were to detonate, as some fear that it might? The article says the ship has 1700 tons of it. Given that the explosion would occur underwater, would that make it more powerful or less powerful than if it were to happen on land? (talk) 09:41, 7 June 2014 (UTC)


Why is Chernobyl not listed here? It is among the largest artificial non-nuclear explosions. It was a non-nuclear pair of explosions - no nuclear detonation, so it should fit on this list. I know there is a list for nuclear disasters specifically, but it qualifies for both lists. Ottawakismet (talk) 00:20, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

While the steam explosion at Chernobyl was devastating to the reactor hall, it was not more than ~20 tons of TNT equivalent so therefore isn't all that impressive for inclusion into this article. Moreover there is actually some debate whether the entire explosion was chemical/physical in nature, some peer reviewed papers actually argue that the explosion was nuclear in nature, a very very low yield fizzle. If memory serves Richard Mueller of MIT or Caltech or one of those US institutes discusses this in his Physics series on youtube etc if you want to look into this controversy. (talk) 02:05, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

N1 launch explosion[edit]

@LouScheffer: Re this, where do you see those source figures confirmed in the N1 (rocket) article? Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but I see 'Total estimated force of the explosion was about 4-5 tons of TNT', as opposed to this article which surmises the explosion at 6.93 kilotons, over 1000 times larger. Brycehughes (talk) 04:35, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

The reference cited with the N1 (reference 36) says it had 680 tons of kerosene. Since a given mass of kerosene has about 10x the energy of TNT (assuming it gets oxidizer externally, as here) then that's the energy of 6,800 tons of TNT. So the order of magnitude is certainly right, and a lot more than several tons. The quote you mentioned was from the N-1 article, which itself seems wrong and self-contradictory. 4-5 tons of explosive will not send debris 10 km, nor loft enough so that 1/2 hour later it is still raining down. In addition there was much more energy available than the 400 tons of TNT mentioned in the article. See also [6], which says 'Upon impact of the base of the N1 with the pad, the vehicle exploded with the force of a small nuclear bomb, destroying launch complex 110R', and similar sources. LouScheffer (talk) 18:59, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Alright, I'll take your word for it. Brycehughes (talk) 01:16, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Do Rockets Explode?[edit]

When rockets fail, they don't explode in the same way as an explosive such as nitrogylcerine - they just burn a large amount of fuel and oxidizer very quickly, resulting in a massive unplanned release of energy in a short time. But in normal English usage, any large, unplanned, rapid, destructive release of energy is called an explosion. This is true in official safety documentation, (National Fire Protection Association. User's Manual for NFPA 921. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2005. p 408.) where an explosion is defined as 'The sudden conversion of potential energy (chemical or mechanical) into kinetic energy'. See also this dictionary definition of explosion :'A violent and destructive shattering or blowing apart of something, as is caused by a bomb.' This dictionary explicitly gives the technical definition (involving a shock wave) as secondary.

The view that rockets explode is backed by reliable, verifiable, and serious commentators (such as the NY times Launch Pad Where Rocket Exploded Back Next Year.

NASA too states that rockets explode, even though what they are referring to is clearly just fast, unplanned combustion. See Taming Liquid Hydrogen: The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket, 1958-2002:

'During its maiden voyage in May 1962, a Centaur upper stage rocket, mated to an Atlas booster, exploded 54 seconds after launch, engulfing the rocket in a huge fireball. Investigation revealed that Centaur's light, stainless-steel tank had split open, spilling its liquid-hydrogen fuel down its sides, where the flame of the rocket exhaust immediately ignited it. '

Likewise scholarly journal articles: From History of the Space Telescope 'Unfortunately, about 100 feet up the entire rocket exploded'.

So from the point of view of almost all Wikipedia readers, rockets most definitely explode. Furthermore, the total energy released is well documented - there are no reports (to my knowledge anyway) of significant amounts of unburned fuel remaining after the explosion.

So explosions of rockets should stay on this list, as should other explosions (such as gas leaks) that may not be detonations. LouScheffer (talk) 13:26, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Port of Tianjin[edit]

NYT lists the magnitude as magnitude-2.9 “the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT.” / corret?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Oluies (talk • contribs) 21:38, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Maybe not CCTV said exploded with the equivalent force of 3 tons and 21 tons of TNT. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oluies (talk • contribs) 21:51, 12 August 2015 (UTC)


The claim that the la meganic distaster was equivalent to 900/100 t of TNT seems completely exaggerated. A 100t explosion would have completely destroyed the town, yet buildings 100m away were left standing

Tianjin explosion yield estimation?[edit]

It would be nice to have a source which puts a more accurate number on the Tianjin explosive yield. Reasonable estimates seem to vary from 3 to 8 kilotons, making it easily one of the largest explosions on this list, if not THEE largest. My own calculations and using Nukemap tend to point to a 5-8 kiloton surface explosion, with crater size and damage extent showing 8 kilotons, but alas, they are far from scientifically thorough and can't really be cited for accuracy. (talk) 11:47, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Adding to that: why does it say two explosions, when there clearly were three? (talk) 23:09, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Suggested inclusion criteria[edit]

We need some kind of standard for what should go on this list. My opinion:

  1. 1. All explosions mentioned should be bigger than all conventional bombs. Any conventional bombing shouldn't be recorded unless in a munitions accident involving multiple bombs. This suggests that we might want to put 50 tonnes TNT equivalent as our absolute minimum yield for anything recent.
  2. 2. No pure fires. The destruction should be due to heat AND pressure. An explosion should generate significant shockwaves that deal damage. It need not be a detonation, but it should be causing damage due to overpressure. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

So-called Nedelin catastrophe[edit]

This was the accidental explosion of a Russian rocket on the launch pad in 1960 that killed a large number of engineers and technicians. Are there any estimates of the magnitude of the explosion, and does it belong in this list? (talk) 05:34, 3 September 2016 (UTC)


At the moment this article has a mixture of British English and American English spellings, which is not ideal. This early version seems to be written in British English. Per WP:RETAIN and WP:ENGVAR, does anybody mind if we standardsise the spelling on Br Eng? --John (talk) 23:01, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Seems reasonable to me. I hope no one thinks this subject has 'strong national ties' :-) --Trovatore (talk) 23:19, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Actually, doing simple-minded searches in the version you linked, I find one distinctive BrE spelling (harbour) and one distinctive AmE spelling (fertilizer). So it's not clear to me that the guideline per se resolves the issue. But I'm fine with giving the deciding vote to the person who volunteers to clean it up, so from my POV, please go ahead. --Trovatore (talk) 01:55, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
There were 'litre' and 'metre' as well, and 'fertilizer' exists in British English as well. It's done now, in any case. --John (talk) 06:27, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

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Arsenal Hill, Utah[edit]

Someone might want to add the Arsenal Hill, Utah Explosion of 1876. 80,000 pounds of gunpowder went off accidentally and rained 500 tons of debris on Salt Lake City. Killed at least four people, one of whom was over a mile away. Wounded and injured hundreds. Flattened buildings for a half-mile. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

Retrieved from ''

The Celtics’ Terry Rozier and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie are two of the logical trade targets for the Suns in their search for a point guard, according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Rozier is a solid two-way player coming off a career year but the Suns would likely have to offer a package that included an unprotected first-rounder to catch Boston’s attention. A trade for Dinwiddie would be more plausible and he’d be a good fit with Phoenix considering his size, perimeter shooting and pick-and-roll prowess, Urbina continues. The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Cavaliers’ George Hill and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker are some of the other names Urbina throws out as potential targets. The Suns are searching for a starting point guard after trading away Brandon Knight to the Rockets last week.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans signed Troy Williams, Kenrich Williams and Garlon Green to partially-guaranteed contracts in the hope of finding one reliable small forward, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate notes. That trio will compete for a roster spot, though the potential addition of swingman Tyrone Wallace — signed to an offer sheet on Monday — could change that. “They just told me they’re bringing some guys in and having them go head-on to see who wins a spot,” Kenrich Williams told Kushner.
  • By buying out Luol Deng‘s contract and using the stretch provision, the Lakers gave themselves a chance to offer Kevin Durant a max salary in free agency, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders examines. The Lakers now project to have $38.2MM in cap space, which would be just enough to afford Durant, Pincus continues. If they can’t land Durant, they’ll certainly have enough to bring in another All-Star level talent. Other high-level potential free agents, including Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Walker and Kyrie Irving, could command a first-year salary of $33MM, leaving the Lakers with another $5MM to spend in other ways, Pincus adds.
  • The Rockets took a frugal approach this summer and it could cost them a title, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They traded away Ryan Anderson and allowed two key wing players to walk in free agency. In turn, they signed three players on veteran’s minimum deals and adding a couple of bench players in the Anderson trade, Bontemps notes. So while Houston execs had said they were unconcerned about the luxury tax, their actions showed they wanted to save some money, Bontemps adds.
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