Nuclear Physics
Atomic Bombs

How many atomic bombs will it take to destroy the world?

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2011-09-13 01:17:33

"Answer:" id="Answer:">Answer:

The total global nuclear arsenal is about 30,000 nuclear warheads

with a destructive capacity of 5,000 megatons (5,000 million tons

of TNT).

An air burst (detonating a bomb above the surface) would produce

far more damage and death via radioactive fallout than one

detonating at ground level.

A single 100 megaton air burst would be enough to cause a

nuclear winter and pollute the Earth for many many years.

Theoretically, a 100 megaton bomb detonated below ground could

produce a massive earthquake and the constant explosions of a full

blown nuclear war may also cause numerous earthquakes around the

globe. But this would not destroy the world nor all human life.

Globally there are not enough nuclear bombs to completely kill

every human. The Tsar Bomb (largest bomb ever detonated) had a

fallout of 1000 square kilometres, and was 50 MT. The world is

close to 150 million square kilometres, and the human population

covers close to 18 million square kilometres.

Therefore to get a rough idea we can say hypothetically that the

5000 megatones of nuclear warheads was 100 Tsar Bombs (the same

value in megatons). If these bombs were detonated their total

radioactive fallout would cover 100,000 square kilometres.

It may be surprising to hear that this covers less than 1% of

the area that the human population covers, which should give a

general idea of the miniscule size of impact this would have on the

total world's surface. Therefore it can be shown that we do not

have the capacity at the moment to destory the world with nuclear


However, there are factors we have overlooked, which


- Tsar Bomb has a very small radioactive fallout in comparison

with its megatone value

- Nuclear wardheads can be assumed to target densly populated

locations, and

- Nuclear winter which would result in the radioactive


To put curiousty to rest, even if we replaced our Tsar Bomb

equation with nuclear warheads that had a higher radioactive yield

to fulfill the 5000 megatons gloabl nuclear arsenal we would still

not come close to the amount of radioactive fallout required to

cover the area the human population covers, let alone destroy the


If nuclear warheads were targeted at densly populated locations

it would increase the fatalities of a nuclear war, however this

would still not wipe out humanity, let alone destory the world.

Nuclear winter can in lamer terms be contrasted with the ice

age. The ice age did not destory the world, and did not wipe out

all life, therefore neither would nuclear winter. Humanity is

extremley resilient, and although many of the world's population

die due to starvation if they did not die from the initial nuclear

war or radiation, life will find a way.


You forgot to take into account the amount of radiation there

would be if more than one detonated at a single time.

My U.S. History teacher told us that if 8 nuclear bombs went off

at roughly the same time, it would kill 95% of life in planet


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