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Top 10 Biggest Explosions

Roger Schmidt . . . Comments

There is something very fascinating about watching the destructive beauty of things blowing up. It seems that every decent action movie has to have some kind of spectacular explosion. However, in real life there have been many kinds of explosions, and many are greater than the biggest ones in movies. Here is a brief list of the biggest explosions known to mankind.



Foab Blast

Type: Largest explosion created by a non-nuclear weapon

FOAB (Father of all Bombs) is a Russian tactical weapon, designed to detonate in mid-air and deliver an incinerating shockwave to the target area below it. The bomb yields the equivalent of 44 Tons of TNT, making it about as powerful as the smallest nuclear weapons in existence. However, FOAB does not generate the radioactive fallout that nuclear weapons do. FOAB is part of a “miniature arms race” between the United States and Russia. In 2003, the United States developed MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb) which is a similar device with a yield of 11 tons of TNT. MOAB was quickly termed the “Mother of all Bombs” in accordance with its acronym. In an apparent response, Russia developed its “Father of all Bombs”, in 2007, which it claims is four times as powerful and slightly lighter in weight. However, the United States Military is dubious of these claims, and says that it is very possible that the film that Russia released of the test was doctored, and that several of the “facts” about the bomb were exaggerated for propaganda purposes.


Minor Scale

Minor Scale Test Explosion

Type: Largest man-made conventional explosion

Minor Scale was a test performed by the United States, on June 27, 1985. The United States Defense Nuclear agency detonated almost 5,000 tons of ammonium nitrate fuel oil, to simulate the effect of a nuclear weapon. The main purpose was to see how a small nuclear weapon would affect military hardware. In the photograph, an F-4 Phantom can be seen in the wake of the explosion. An interesting fact: There is a dispute about whether or not this was, in fact, the largest conventional explosion. The Heligoland explosion was carried out by Great Britain when the Royal Navy detonated 6,700 tons of left over arsenal from WWII. While the Guinness Book of Records records Heligoland as being larger, the yield of Minor Scale was greater by about half a kiloton of TNT.


Tunguska Event

Tunguska Event

Type: Largest impact in recorded history

On June 30, 1908, there was a large explosion above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, in Russia. The explosion created an estimated yield of 10-15 megatons of TNT, or about 1,000 times the yield of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. While there are a good number of conspiracy theories as to what caused the explosion, the majority of the scientific community agrees that it was caused by a meteoroid exploding in mid-air. Even though the meteoroid exploded in mid-air, the event is still considered an impact. The explosion is believed to have occurred in mid-air because, even though there have been several searches for it, no one has ever been able to find the crater. However, there was an area of about 2,150 square km where trees were bent away from the hypocenter of the blast.


Tsar Bomba

Tsar-Bomba Digitally Enhanced Nuclear Bomb Picture

Type: Largest man-made explosion

Tsar Bomba was a hydrogen bomb developed by the Soviet Union, and tested on October 30, 1961. With a yield of 57 megatons, it was the most powerful man-made explosion ever. The bomb was actually originally intended to be more around 100 megatons, but the fallout of such a device would have been too problematic. Even though Tsar Bomba was detonated in the very remote location of the Novaya Zemlya island chain, north of the Russian mainland, it still caused a great deal of collateral damage. A village 55 km from the test site was completely leveled. Damage to buildings occurred as far away as Norway and Finland. The explosion created a mushroom cloud 64 km high, and a shockwave that was still detectable on its third passage around the earth.


Mount Tambora Eruption


Type: Largest Earthbound explosion recorded by humans

On April 5, 1815, Mt. Tambora erupted in Sambawa, Indonesia, creating the most powerful explosion ever witnessed by humans in historic times. The Tambora eruption is estimated to have unleashed the equivalent of 800 megatons of TNT, making it about 14 times more powerful than Tsar Bomba. The eruption was heard as far away as Sumatra, which is 2,600 km away. Before the eruption, Mt. Tambora was 4.3 km tall, but after it was only 2.85 km tall. The volcano created an ash column 43 km high, and dispersed ash into the stratosphere and around the globe. This ash blocked out the Sun and caused the year 1816 to be the second coldest year in recorded history. Crop failures and famines occurred all over Europe and North America. It is estimated that about 10,000 people died directly from the eruption, and that about 70,000 died from the resulting climate change.


Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event

Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event 1

Type: Largest known Earthbound explosion

About 65 million years ago, an event known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary Event caused the extinction of many organisms, but is most famous for causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. Many scientists believe that this was caused by an asteroid impact that created the Chicxulub Crater located off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is estimated that the explosive force of this impact would have been the equivalent of 96 teratons of TNT, or about 1.7 million Tsar Bombas. This would make the impact the greatest explosion to ever occur on earth, for which there is sufficient geological evidence. The impact would have caused climate change, much like Mt. Tambora but much more drastic, and this climate change is believed to be what ultimately killed the dinosaurs.


GRB 080319B


Type: Largest explosion ever directly witnessed by humans

Gamma-ray bursts are among the most violent known events in the universe. The exact cause of Gamma-ray bursts is not fully understood, although most astronomers hold that they are linked to extremely large supernovae. Gamma-ray bursts usually last 20 to 40 seconds and shine gamma-rays (hence the name) in a relatively narrow direction. Gamma-ray bursts are extremely rare, with one occurring every few hundred thousand years in each galaxy. On March 19, 2008, a gamma-ray burst called GRB 080319B occurred, and was visible to the naked eye for about 30 seconds. The explosion took place 7.5 billion light-years away, making the most distant object viewable without a telescope. The explosion is estimated to have generated the equivalent of 2×1034 tons of TNT, or about the equivalent of 10,000 times the Sun’s weight in TNT detonating all at once.



300Px-Sn2006Gy Chandra X-Ray

Type: Largest known supernova

On September 16, 2006, the largest known supernova, SN2006gy, was discovered. Supernovae occur when stars run out of fuel, collapse on themselves, and then explode. Extremely large supernovae, or hypernovae, are among the most violent events in the universe, and are believed by many to be the source of gamma-ray bursts. SN2006gy occurred 230 million light years away, when a star about 150 times as massive as the Sun collapsed on itself. The amount of energy output by this hypernova is estimated to be approximately equivalent to 2.5×1035 tons of TNT, which is roughly the same amount of energy put out by all the stars in the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies in one minute. An interesting fact: Because hypernova are usually caused by very large stars, there is usually enough remaining material from the star to continue collapsing after the explosion. This remaining material will sometimes collapse until its volume reaches zero. This means that many hypernova form black holes.


GRB 080916C

Grb080916C Uvot Xrt Merged

Type: Largest true explosion ever

The universe is a big place. Astronomically large objects are difficult to comprehend, and the largest known explosion, GRB 080916C is no different. GRB 080916C was a gamma-ray burst that was first recorded on September 16, 2008. The burst occurred about 12.2 billion light-years away and lasted 23 minutes, which is a very long duration for a gamma-ray burst. For those 23 minutes, the gamma-ray burst was putting out more energy than most galaxy superclusters. It is estimated that the blast had the equivalent amount of energy of 2×1038 tons of TNT. That’s the same as a trillion Tsar Bombas going off every second for 110 billion years, or about 7,000 times the amount of energy that the Sun is expected to put out in its lifetime.


Big Bang

Big Bang

Type: Largest “explosion” ever

It’s only appropriate that the Big Bang be number one. However, the Big Bang was technically not an explosion. An explosion occurs when matter moves through space from a high pressure point to a low pressure point, and does so very, very rapidly. However, the Big Bang involved space itself expanding rapidly, not matter expanding through space. In fact, because the universe is still expanding, one could argue that the Big Bang is still occurring. Another misconception about the Big Bang Theory is that it does not explain how the universe began, or how matter and energy first came to be. It only explains how space rapidly expanded about 5.4×10-44 seconds after the universe began.

  • snickersman

    Awesome list! Science is very scary.

    • rfv9

      ROFLMAO plagiarism…
      check out
      this list is just a simple copy-paste job.

      • M

        That was also posted today, so the EssayNotes version is the plagiarized one.

        • DanF

          Or he submitted to two websites.

      • ARSE

        F**king nut job. Searching the internet to see if this is a plagiarised list. Get a life, and you post a list before you start making claims like that. I’m sure no one has seen the othe list before. It’s new to use, that’s all that matters.

        • David

          That’s right! I’ve never heard of the Big Bang or the Atomic Bomb before!

          • Chuk

            And you have heard about the numbered explosions? Geez…

        • Hay


      • Bob

        You need to read first before jumping to conclusions.

        The link you provided says that this is the original list.

      • OddJobb

        Ya mama made me explode last night.

    • jack

      Big Bang is just a theory dumbass

      • whatadeal

        i can get plane tickets for 70% off what a deal

  • great list!!

  • Gnugo

    Where’s Lake Toba Supervolcano?

    • Armin Tamzarian

      Lake Toba, I guess.

      • 90990304

        Clever bastard

    • Or Yellowstone? Or La Granita?

  • Baba

    Wow. Didnt know gamma ray bursts can be that powerful.

  • Wow

    Now THAT’S a list!

  • PoorMe

    Is “big bang” the proven fact? I thought it was idea that stated it might happened that way.

    • Frank lesnar

      Well yeah big bang is just a myth

      • Name

        The Big Bang is about as real as Whoville.

      • Joe13

        Got to “” and check the archives for THE “BIG BANG” IS JUST RELIGION DISGUISED AS SCIENCE.

        by Michael Rivero

      • Dan

        And yet it has evidence towards it….

    • Armin Tamzarian

      Is it absolutely, undoubtedly proven to be correct? No.

      Is there much doubt about the correctness of the theory? Also, no. It’s widely accepted as the correct explanation of the first moments of the universe.

      • Commentman

        This. And nothing else.

        Carry on, Seymour

      • PoorMe


    • Metalwrath

      The Big Bang essentially explains why the universe is expanding in every possible direction, away from it’s center, so if we go back in time using the same constants all the elements of the universe join in a dense clot.

      • Woodchuck Chuck

        The last list had Jesus as number one, who gives a flying f*ck?

      • PoorMe

        But if I am not mistaken this universe is only expanding we don’t know behavior of other universes (I mean parallel universes).

        What I want to say is that the expansion could be because of two parallel universe colliding (just for putting my argument only) and the point of collision may be the center of expansion rather than a collected mass at one point.

    • David

      The Big Bang is real. The internet is a myth. None of you exist.

      • PoorMe

        Statistically the existence of every thing tends to null if we start considering beginning to the birth of an object (living/nonliving). Probability of fertilization of one egg by a sperm is 1/1M(here 1M is just guess of number of sperms), couple to form again in millionth so, keep of doing this and human race never existed.

        I think you have a point there.

  • varchar69

    next -> Top Ten Biggest Implosions

    • Modeman

      or would that be…. smallest… imposions???

    • David

      The Boston Red Sox in 2011 !!!

      • Jésus


  • Amrendra

    Really good list. Very well written!!!

  • Mr. B

    Dang it, read up on the big bang theory…. The universe wasn’t ushered in with an explosion, according to the eponymous theory. I feared you’d pop it at 1st place and what do you know. *sigh*

    • oldirtykoala

      You come on here and whinge, yet you give no information to back up your claims. Besides all theories surrounding the big bang are THEORIES, why not include it, you didnt mention no.5, yet there is no hard evidence that actually proves this event took place. Take your head out of your arse.

      Great list, a welcome change.

      • Geko

        Careful with your use of “theory”. Big bang is a well relied-upon hypothesis. Theory in the scientific term is not the same as theory in vernacular…

        Oh, I’m being pedant. Sorry.

        • oldirtykoala


        • Pedantic

          did you mean “pedantic” or “A pedant”?

    • Metalwrath

      If you had read the article, you’d realize that the author truthfully said that the Big Bang isn’t technically and explosion. *sigh*

      • Xyroze

        You would also see that almost all our data is limited to the time a few seconds after the universe would have started, and within that time frame the laws of physics were drastically different. To predict what happened before that and leading up to it would require a new source of data, and there just isn’t enough funding right now on developing the technology required to clearly and accurately analyze all of the novel properties of that time frame.

  • Peter North vs Seka. Now that was an explosion!

    • mordechaimordechai

      lol! i know who Seka is thanks to this site.

  • Roach

    Great list.

  • DanF

    The list could have done with a bit more variety. The Halifax explosion could have been included (3KT) non nuclear explosion. Heligoland was a a bigger explosion than FOAB (4KT) when the British tried to destroy a whole Island.

    • Maggot

      The list could have done with a bit more variety.

      How so? Each entry is categorized under its own unique characteristic. Granted those categories are somewhat arbitrary choices of the writer, but seems like that actually served to add variety? I dunno…I thought it was an interesting touch to the list though.

      Heligoland was a a bigger explosion than FOAB

      I think the difference is that FOAB is considered to be a single bomb or weapon, whereas Heligoland was an accumulation of multiple surplus ordnance that was detonated. That doesn’t make your statement any less true of course – it WAS a bigger non-nuke explosion, but it wasn’t the biggest non-nuke explosion from “a weapon”, which is that particular entry’s lead-in qualifier. Similarly, while Halifax could certainly be listed somewhere, FWIW it does not rank in this list’s specifically framed sub-categories.

      • Lifeschool

        Very well put maggot. :)

      • bigski

        i agree with maggot….very cool and unusual offering .

  • Surya

    If the universe did not begin with the Big bang, then how did it begin?

    • Name

      That’s stupid. That’s like saying “Well, if God didn’t make everything then what did?” ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm I DON’T KNOW, that doesn’t make it fact dummy.

    • Metalwrath

      We don’t know the beginning, but science is working on it.

    • Eumesmopo

      I think the problem here is taking the supposition that “at one point there was no universe, then a creation event happened”. What people fail to take into consideration is that all the laws of the Universe, including basic logics and time itself, were all contained within the Big Bang.

      • Surya

        If that’s true, then what was it like before the Big Bang? If one says, that’s stupid because the very logic that explains things was not existing before the Big Bang, then the point is, the reference frame that sees the Big bang from a distance could not exist too. That eventually leads to the proposition that the Big Bang too, could not exist.

        • Eumesmopo

          If what I said is true, then there never was any “before the big bang”. Time itself is just one of the dimensions of our Universe (which are all contained within the Big Bang). There can’t be a sequence of events where there ain’t a time-space continum to begin with.

          The only way to observe the Big Bang is from within it (pretty much in the same way only a mind can observe it’s own awareness), there’s no “outside observer” to the Big Bang (at least none that we can possibly know of).

          • Surya

            Classical physics fails to observe something from ‘within it’, just like a ball in motion can never ‘see’ itself moving. For an observer sitting within the Big Bang, there will be no Big Bang at all. The universe, as an offspring of the Big Bang, then could never realize the Big Bang.

          • Eumesmopo

            “For an observer sitting within the Big Bang, there will be no Big Bang”

            That’s very incorrect. The theories about the Big Bang are precisely the results of human observation of the expansion of the Universe which is still in action.

      • Paula

        True, the reference frame for observation of an event must predate the event itself. If nothing ever existed before the big bang, then big bang could not possibly be taking place to an observer.

        • psychosurfer

          If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around, does it make a sound?


          …actually I got that form Lisa Simpson

          • Ahhhhh, the age old question (along with the chicken/egg debate).

            I propose that the tree only creates the requirements for sound, the waves. Since there is no eardrum to react to those waves there is no sound, only the possibility of sound.

    • Lifeschool

      They say it started with nothing. But how do you get something from nothing? Nature abhors a vacuum – but you have to have something there in the first place for that to happen.

      Maybe the Universe pulled back in on itself, condensing particles into a giant ball of matter; which subsequently exploded.

      Maybe the Univere is always pulling in matter, exploding, creating a Universe and then pulling it all in again? – like the rubber band effect??

      But where did that ‘Matter’ originally come from in the first place?

      Some say the Universe started with a single thought. But then you’d need some kind of consciousness for that… which isn’t impossible – given half of the world still consider there may be some kind of consciousness (God, gods deities, ghosts) beyond our humble existence… Consciousness could have existed forever for all we know. Maybe that’s all that survives?

      On the other hand…

      Perhaps the materials which pop in and out of detectable existence on the quantum level have always existed. And these somehow condenced into what we know as the nucleus of an atom? Did you know… Clouds are formed because water vapor condences around a single tiny spec of dust in the atmosphere? Pearly are formed around a single tiny spec of dust in the shell of an oyster. And so the atom is made up of much more than just it’s almost infinitely small tiny core. But when these atoms get together – hey presto! – we get ‘Matter’.

  • Well, I can say is that this is more fodder for anti-evolutionists as well as pro-evolutionists………

    • Armin Tamzarian

      Where did you read something about evolution in this list?

  • Baldguy

    My geeky side is absolutely sexually satisfied by this perfect list!

  • arken


  • DanF

    Ref the Big bang – a nice way to visualise the rapid expansion is to compare it to a coin (5p or dime) expanding to the size of the Milkway quicker than the blink of an eye.

    Is that a real picture of the Tsar Bomba? It is not one I have seen before. I thought the reason for not making it the 100MT yield was because after a certain size the explosion reaches a point in the atmosphere that most of the energy is wasted. I remember watching a documentary about it and something like that was discussed.

    • No, it is not a picture of the Tsar Bomba explosion. This ( is a picture of the Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud. The explosion seen above, I believe, was from a French nuke test.

    • It appears to have been part of Operation Canopus, a series of French nuke tests that occurred on Mururoa Atoll.

      • DanF


        I thought it was CGI

    • Cosmos

      Yea, something like that. From what I read and understood, it’s like, it wouldn’t be able to consume the nuclear waves in that explosion, and those nuclear waves would continue to harm the environment. So, it would be a perfection explosion (that destroys all of its energy by itself).

  • BookTeeth

    I was hoping that the explosion of the death star would have received an honourable mention, but alas.

  • Chris_C

    As a Canadian, I have to agree with the Halifax harbour explosion. Two munitions ships collideed. They found a twenty ton anchour about 5 miles away

  • Frank lesnar

    What abou hiroshima?the biggest us manslaughter?

    • JohnSampson

      The list is about biggest explosions, and since Hiroshima isn’t in the top 10, it wasn’t included

  • Proffesor

    5.4A-44 ?care to translate that?

    • DanF

      I think they are supposed to say 5.4 x 10 (to the power 44)

  • Chris_C

    Hiroshima would be mass murder, not manslaughter

    • JohnB

      Heroshima was self defense in an effort to save American lives. An invasion of the Japanese Homeland would have cost (at that time) about 250,000 American soldiers. If I remember correctly it was Imperial Japan that attacked Pearl Harbour first. Be careful throwing out unfounded inflammatory comments like that…

  • Name

    People still believe the Big Bang is a real thing? It makes zero sense. Might as well make a list of “Biggest Boat” and put Noah’s Arc at the top.

    • DanF

      Sorry, what has changed in the Scientific community that now disproves the Big Bang? I must have missed something.

    • Metalwrath

      Considering we still know the Universe is expanding from one specific point, the Big Bang is still a pertinent explanation.

      • Yeah ok, but scientists still need a bunch of other mysterious and under-defined things to help support the theory. Such as “dark energy” and “dark matter” (lmao).

    • Dan

      Here is the thing…there is more evidence the big bang happened than ”noah’s ark” which has zero evidence.

  • Jamie

    Loved it!

  • JohnSampson

    Loved this list, amazing.

    “That’s the same as a trillion Tsar Bombas going off every second for 110 billion years”

    My mind, upon reading this, exploded at double that awesomeness

  • Christine Vrey

    AWESOME LIST Jonmark… I love the topic, and I absolutely love how insignificant any explosion that humans have created is compared to the power of nature…. I LOVE IT!!! Thank you for a GREAT Monday read!

  • wade

    The big bang is a myth! If you honestly believe that the universe came from big explosions that came from no where then I really pity you. God made the universe and a flood killed the dinosaurs thats why we have fossils. Apart from that i pretty much agree with ever thing else on the list.

    • JohnB

      There is not one single shred of evidence that God (any God) exists or ever did. Although theory, there is a multitude of evidence that something similar to the Big Bang occurred. I rest my case.

  • Armin Tamzarian

    Very good list, although the number one does seem to be fodder for flame wars. Aside from that, a very interesting read.

    An interesting addition would be the Messines mines, which was the most deadly non-nuclear explosion in the history of man, and was’t surpassed as biggest man-made explosion until the nuclear bomb.

  • Will Trame

    I got a real bang out of this list, pardon the pun. Good list.

  • Gabryel

    now i get it . last time , its about christianity . now its about atheism . and i do not believe that it is science (the big bang ) seems like JFrater is starting a debate here . . put muslims and jews here ! :)

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Enjoyable list – a subject not everyone is familiar with interisting read

    Thumbs up from me thanks.

  • Fooeys

    Why couldn’t have a higher power (God) created the Big Bang? I don’t mean this in a religious preachy way, I mean why cant that be a possibility?

    • flgh

      Remember, the Big Bang was proposed by a priest.

    • Metalwrath

      Adding God to the equation is adding another variable. What created God? What created the entity/thing which created God? Or what is God? How is he here?

      Basically, these are question we ask for the Universe in the first place. Adding God is adding another layer.

      • Fooeys

        Touche :)

    • It’s possible that a higher power created the universe in the same way it’s possible that there are invisible, one-eyed monkeys roaming the earth. But there’s just no evidence for either.

      • Juanonymous

        Thankfully we have public decency laws to keep peoples pants on and those one eyed monkeys from being visible

    • JohnB

      The Bible doesn’t say so, that’s why…j

  • Metalwrath

    I saw this interesting science course on how the universe could have formed from nothing, and it all depends on the shape of the universe.

    If the universe is of a certain shape (forgot which one :s) all the energy of the universe, when added together, is equal to zero. Similarly, nothingness has an energy equal to zero. Hence 0=0, so the state of the universe today is essentially the same as nothingness, energy-wise.

  • Napalm

    Definitely the best list in a long time! Excellent list, well done!

  • MeDan

    I hope the Mythbusters see this list. It will give them a goal to shoot for.

    • Battman

      I think they already own the record the the biggest explosion to ever occur in a cement truck.

  • KostasA

    Great list!

  • frenemy

    Have you heard the big bang does it exist. I know there are a bunch of theories out there which you will probably throw at me. But a theory is a theory not a fact so I don’t think the number 1 position should go to a “theory”.

    • DanF

      Pick up a dictionary and look up the word theory…please

      Photocopy it and then pass it on to all the others like you who believe theory has one definition to stop them using this argument everytime something about evolution, the big bang, or the theory of relativity comes up

      • skywatcher

        In this case, the common meaning of theory is what is meant. The Big Bang hasn’t yet reached the level where it does the scientific use of the word. Of the last 300 attempts to measure the temperature of the background radiation of the universe, only one fit and that required some assumptions and fudging. It could well be said that these measurements fairly well invalidate our present ideas about the Big Bang. We havve a long way to go before we can een begin to understand what happened.

        • @skywatcher “…The Big Bang hasn’t yet reached the level where it does the scientific use of the word… We havve a long way to go before we can een begin to understand what happened…”


          We havve a long way to go before we can een begin to understand what your post means :(

          • skywatcher

            You can’t understand my post? Because of the word “does?” I suspect that tells more about you than about me…

  • oouchan

    This was totally unexpected for me. I was thinking more along the lines of industrial accidents or wartime explosions. Nice to be proven wrong. Enjoyed the list and like how you added gamma rays and super novas. Nice touch.

    Neat and geeky list. :)

  • donnalaviva

    great list hey listverse did you get my list submission earlier I sent this day?

  • mom424

    None too shabby list this morning. Going to join the other Canadians; omitting the Halifax explosion is a big miss. It’s still the largest accidental explosion ever, caused a 60′ tsunami on the Halifax side of the harbour, killed over 2,000 people. They still find chunks during excavations and construction, all round the harbour.

    Still, cool enough list anyway. Learned some new stuff. Good job.

    • DanF

      I mentioned it but I am not Canadian, I included it in a list i submitted last week about the worst manmade disasters. Hasn’t been published though unfortunately for me.

      • mom424

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you – looking forward to it.

  • vanowensbody

    Great list

  • mrbrytsyd

    What about the explosion I created on my toilet last week from eating too much chillies? It’s epic and should be on the list.

    It’s rather nasty but I should’ve taken a picture, because you never know when you need it in lists just like these.

    • DanF

      Why don’t you submit a list of your 10 biggest bowel movements. I for one would be fascinated to read that.

  • EnEightyFive

    It’s “Sumbawa”, not “Sambawa”

  • Ni99a

    Nice list to counter yesterday’s Jesus fanboy list by putting big bang no.1. Ha!

  • Conan

    Awesome list. As a comment to number one on the list, i watched a tv show about the big bang and what happened during that time. An they measure it in Planck time, millions of them per second.

    Just shows we are only one small gamma burst in the face from extinction. :(

  • thealienwarrior

    Some of the entries on this list annoyed me. How can you have a list of “Top 10 biggest explosions” then finish it with one you state is not an explosion? Also, we still do not know, and I doubt ever wll, definatevly know what caused the extincion of the dinosaurs yet you state “is most famous for causing the extinction of the dinosaurs”. Whilst I am not a scientist it does annot me when someone states something as fact when it can not be proven. I could say that I am directly related to the first aliens who came to this planet, but there is nothing to prove/disprove this. It’s the same thing. There is enough evidence that this may have happened and also not enough to prove it didn’t.

  • Dake

    I think one of the largest industrial explosions should have made the list somewhere.

  • evolutionhoax

    Numbers 1 and 5 are simply theories. They are not actual explosions (or “bangs,’ as the case may be).

  • Laji

    I think next bomb will be SOAB (son of all bombs) which is the equivalent of 44 x 11 = 484 Tons of TNT.

    • SOAB … or Son Of A Bitch. :P

      • mordechaimordechai

        yes probably, but the two already divorced and the soab is now a problem kid

  • Anonymous

    Umm, no mention of PEPCONN??? Largest accidental explosion?

    • ads

      sorry to burst ur worthless little bubble but that is not “accidental”. its a huge mistake the people there have made and for that, some people SEE it as a man-made explosion.

  • Lifeschool


    Wow! – a simply mind blowing list. :)

  • Really Cool Blasts! Ever see Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life? Great example of the Big Bang. Though we do wish men’s energies could be used toward astroid deflection, or the space race, over bomb tests on earths surface.

    The Eye

  • mordechaimordechai

    I am not sure about this but by “2×1034 tons of TNT ” you mean 2 to the power of 1034 ? right?

    • mordechaimordechai

      also; i wish i had a ton of TNT so i could have a better idea at what this looks like…

      Nature, you scary!

  • Paul Park

    Disappointing number one.

    Categorically it is creative, not destructive.

    • four fuck

      nobody mentioned shit about destruction here redneck

  • Fantastic list. The science lists are always my favorites.

    I am very interested in the Tunguska Event and have read quite a lot about it, including some interviews with witnesses.

    • psychosurfer

      I agree, great list.
      An interesting fact about Tunguska is that all the photographic evidence we now have was taken at least 20 years after the explosion since czaritst Russia didn’t allow any investigation.

  • you’re the man!!!!!!

    im an avid fan of listverse and is ultra critical about the lists i read…all the lists sucked lately but may i say…THIS LIST IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andres

    Potentially stupid question: if the moon formed on the debris left after the collision of a Mars-sized object with the Earth (the giant impact hypothesis), could the impact classify as an explosion and therefore be the largest ever earthbound explosion (far surpassing the Cretaceous extinction event)? I’m just confused as to whether that would constitute an explosion or since both colliding objects were reasonably close in size, it would not be considered so, and if that’s the case, then where’s the line between a collision and a collision that causes an explosion.

    • psychosurfer

      Not so stupid.
      By Wikipedia’s definition of “explosion”, giant impact surely qualifies as one.
      Good call.

  • L.T


  • you aint heard nothing yet, wait until the bubble bursts at Manchester City

  • Tom Brady of the New England Patriots

    I was expecting shoemaker levy 9, but great list anyways!

  • To David and about the 2011 Boston Red Sox. You’re not kidding that they exploded and just crumbled at the end of the season

  • To Armin Tamzarian. I am just mentioning Evolution as a metaphor because the Big Bang Theory is a touchy subject for creationists and fundamentalists and also the individuals who DO believe in the Big Bang Theory and the comments that people who have blogged on this list seemingly blog about The Big Bang Theory. That’s all and just curious, but this a very educational and well made list

  • Go on to YOU TUBE and type in “Exploding Whale” It refers to a whale who was beached and died off the coast of Oregon. Now the problem was what to do with the carcass as it was stinking up the beach itself. The solution was to hire a pyrotechnic team and it turned out that they put way too much TNT to explode it. And they weren’t thinking about the size of the chunks that would flying in the air as some we’re 200-300 lbs. and causing injury to onlookers and denting cars. What a travesty it was

  • Booboo

    We don’t even know that the big bang even happened…

  • BryanJ

    Interesting list, but it is a bit confusing when you call the Tunguska Event the largest impact in recorded history. The 2009 Jupiter Impact Event was much larger.

  • Jam!

    Kick-ass list!!

  • Nickkthepolice

    Definitely should have seen the super volcano eruptions, especially the lake tabo and yellowstone ones

  • aasfdpopopoipodfsaow

    I like this list! It’s well researched and presented in an appropriate manner! Unlike every single list by Ryan Thomas

    • skywatcher

      The Big Bang broke up the Smiths, you know…

  • Canadianguy

    I think the numbers are wrong, or at least they are at number 10. 44 tons of TNT? Shouldn’t that be kilotons? Just off the top of my head, I know of two explosions that far surpass 44 tons: the Halifax Explosion (about 3ktons) and the mines laid underground at the Battle of Messines (over 450 tons) (which killed 10000 German soldiers when they were detonated).

  • Pukimak

    All hail god!

  • Jimmy johnson

    I’m sure the author could have found at least, I don’t know – about 20 explosions more powerful than anything created by man since celestial events were included in this list.

  • skeptic

    Meh why include the theories. They’re still just theories not FACT.

  • JohnnyROCK

    The picture for #7, Tsar Bomba, is incorrect. That is a photo of one of the French nuclear tests conducted at Mururoa Atoll. I believe it was the Licorne test, which was only 914 kt. Just as well, as all the Tsar Bomba footage and photos I have seen were quite dissappointing

    • JohnnyROCK

      Still a great list by the way.

  • Hey Dan, How are you. I’m trying to learn about the difference between a theory and a hypothesis. From what I have read, it seems pretty cut and clear to me that a Theory is something proven and a hypothesis is something that is speculated. But it seems that those definitions change from day to day. Could you or someone out there give me the true definition of each of these words ?

  • sagar


  • bigski

    very cool list…..

  • Carra23

    CHEAT LIST: It already exists word-for-word on the “Essay Writing Lists” site!

    HAD you done your homework and added in “effects” you probably should have included Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Messines.
    The first two being obviously the two most famous nuclear blasts in history while the third is notable in that it took the Heligoland blast to be of higher “normal” explosive content and the Trinity Nuclear Test blast to be bigger.
    The most impressive aspect of Messines is the fact that it was a combination of 22 underground mines containing a total weight of 455 Tonnes of Amanol (about twice the power of Ammonium Nitrate (Nitropryl) which terminated from 60 – 80 feet below the German trenches along the Messines Ridge, Belgium.
    They were then detonated simultaneously.
    Reports were made that the shockwave from the explosion was heard as far away as London where it rattled the silverware at 10 Downing Street as well as Dublin! To make matters worse for the Germans, the explosions occurred while the front line troops were being relieved, meaning both groups (relieving and relieved) were caught in the blasts.

    With approximately 10,000 killed, the Messines detonation is history’s deadliest non-nuclear man-made explosion.
    The day before the mines were detonated, the British General, Sir Hubert Plumer joked: “Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography.”

    Interesting Note: 3 of the mines did not detonate: one was neutralised by German counter-mining before completion and two failed to detonate at all. Of these, one was struck by lightning in 1955 and detonated, killing a cow while the third is still there!

    • Canadianguy

      Erm…I already mentioned Messines. Look 9 comments up.

  • I wonder what Stephen Hawking would say or wonder if he ever saw this list !!

  • And also, what would the late Carl Sagan and Stephen J. Gould would think of seeing this list

  • On one of the “Peanuts Gang Specials” (notably said by Charlie Brown himself) “There are 3 things that a human being can’t help but watch. A Raging Fire, A Babbling Brook, and a Zamboni Cleaning the Ice of a Hockey Game. Maybe he should have also added “Watching An Explosion”

  • jASON


  • That’s the same as a trillion Tsar Bombas going off every second for 110 billion years, or about 7,000 times the amount of energy that the Sun is expected to put out in its lifetime.


  • need facts

    the big bang theory is just a “theory” not a fact… this list is stupid

  • D. Kenney

    What is this suppose to represent à ? What is its meaning? In the article it seems to have many meaning: 2×1034 tons, 5.4×10-44 seconds

  • soulja4daHOLY1

    every explosion has a cause. what caused the big bang if nothing was before it?

  • Herpaderpasherpa

    I so inb4’d on the Big Bang

  • JB

    Awesome list, kinda reminds me of this…


    Im pretty sure the biggest explosion occurred in my toilet ten minutes ago after eating half a dozen tacos

  • Jayntree

    I don’t see the Alderaan destruction at the hands of the Empire on here… WEAK!

  • Beast Of Gevaudan

    Fascinating list Roger.

    A clear reminder of just how violent the universe can be.

    • MeDan

      Indeed, Gevauden. Say, are you the same author who wrote a list on mythical creatures for Listverse? Got anything new in the pipeline?

  • edzyl

    I was really amazed with no.2. So does that means that the true explosion occurred 12.2 billion years ago? Just asking guys because it will take 12.2 billion years for light to travel that far.

    • skywatcher

      Assuming the speed of light has remained constant through those billions of years…

      • Do you suppose the speed of light (my favorite speed) can have changed over time? I was under the impression it was a constant.

        • skywatcher

          Segues, that’s the current working hypothesis. But there are some who question it. And there are some who think the speed of light may be different in other areas of space. Tight now, everything seems to hang together, but there’s that pesky dark matter question…

          • Yes, I hadn’t remembered that question of other areas of space. There is the possibility of parallel universes, too, where such things may behave differently…and the concept of parallel universes is fascinating, I read everything I can about it. Got hooked while reading some books on Quantum.

          • Are you an astronomer?

            Astronomy has always been a big deal in my family. My son tried to get permission to have his wedding in an Observatory, and used a quote by Carl Sagan in his wedding vows.

  • WafflesWafers

    I knew Tsar Bomba would be included. :D

  • Edu jara


  • My only solution as to whether or not The Big Bang Theory does exist, is just go to the man who came up with the concept and that would be Stephen Hawking himself………..

    • MeDan

      Actually, peter, Hawking added some “minor” refinements but the man who came up with the original concept was none other than Edgar Poe. In a poem, no less.

      Personally, I’ve always had a warm spot for Hoyle’s ideas. A quasi-static universe… But science says it ain’t happenin’.

    • Not Hawking (although I do love reading Hawking)

      In 1927, Georges Lemaître, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic priest, proposed that the inferred recession of the nebulae was due to the expansion of the Universe.

      In 1931 Lemaître expanded on his original proposition and suggested that the evident expansion of the universe, if projected back in time, meant that the further the past the smaller the universe was, until at some finite time in the past all the mass of the Universe was concentrated into a single point, a “primeval atom” where and when the fabric of time and space came into existence.

      from Wikipedia

      • seques. Very interesting and I always seem to learn something new everyday. One of my best friends from High School is now a nationally known Astronmer who works at the Mauna Kea Keck Observatory in Hawai’i. I bet that he would get kick out of this list and comments. Thanks again.

  • Hi segues. Correct me if I am wrong but when I was younger I thought that these scientists created a machine that emits laser beams faster than the speed of light. Just curious. Also, if I were a science teacher (regardless of the type of science), I would require students to watch the 13 part documentary entitled “The Ascent Of Man” which was hosted by the late great scientific mind, Dr. Jacob Bronowski. I saw it when I was a teenager and found it to be fascinating. Especially the episode where he explains Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

  • Hello MeDan. Edgar Allan Poe, well in this day and age nothing surprises me anymore as I can see Poe coming up with the concept like this. I am not familiar with Hoyle as I will go to the wikipedia and read about him. This reminds me of the fact about Cyrano De Bergerac and a “sci-fi fantasy” during his lifetime about a rocketship flying to the moon. Thank You for the tidbit of information.

  • amin

    hi guys need help i made a website and placed google adsense ads on my site butt 5 or 6 months i am trying to get it up butt it wass totally going down…

  • Ashwin

    And I thought pussyfarts were more explosive than the big bang

  • The The Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight

    All you amateurs, STEP ASIDE! I make the biggest explosions! I said that to my buddy I said Ain’t that right baby? I make the big booms. Tell me I’m WRONG baby. And he said I can’t do that baby. Cause you’re NOT WRONG! YEAHHHH!!!!

  • vermilionskin

    Brilliant! love this list… :)

  • jesse

    number two is simply unfathomable to me…

  • Non Newtonian Fluids

    I have found the following blog on website with the same title and material too =P

  • mkelly

    love the sight but sometimes your opinions are very one sided with no fucking proof. you at tome can be very racist with no facts to follow it up. how the hell would you know about the loudest explosions when you was not fucking there.

  • Art

    Um….this list is garbage. What about Yellowstone, Lake Toba (60%) of life, Lake Taupo, Krakatoa(largest recorded sound), to name a few of the many large volcanic explosions. Um and what about the explosion that occurred between planet Theia and earth which formed the moon. Dumbass.

  • Jackson

    What does 2Ã-1034 mean?

  • RustCorrosion

    WOOOW! That was one of the most interesting and entertaining lists ive ever read! Ive known listverse for over a month, but despite only knowing the site very little ive read God knows how many of these lists. This was one of the most interesting lists ive read. I even bookmarked this page.

  • pokemon

    Electrode using explosion anyone? That shit has 200 power.