10 Facts – The Tsar Bomba – the Biggest Bomb The World Has Ever Seen


Every aspect of the phrase, ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ applies to the Tsar Bomba. The weapon was the Soviet Union’s rebuttal to the United States nuclear program. A massive device, designed to decimate everything, that’s what the bomb was. Only one was detonated, and that was enough. Here are 10 things you should know about the Tsar Bomba.

1. Most Powerful Detonation Ever

An American B41 thermo-nuclear bomb. Wikipedia / Public Domain

The casing of an American B41 thermo-nuclear bomb.

Tsar Bomba remains the most powerful device ever detonated by mankind. To compare, the most powerful device the United States ever created was the B41. It was also the only three-stage nuclear device the U.S. created. The B41 had a maximum yield of 25 megatons TNT, while the Tsar Bomba had a maximum yield of 100 megatons of TNT.

2. Could’ve Been More Powerful

Tsar Bomba casing seen on display.

Tsar Bomba casing seen on display. Photo Credit

The bomb was tested at 50 megatons, but it could have been tested at its maximum yield, 100 megatons of TNT. It wasn’t tested at this due to fear of nuclear fallout, as well as the increased risk that the crew inside the plane that was to drop the bomb wouldn’t live through the blast. It is believed that if they had one with the full 100 megaton, the fallout created from it would amount to about 25 percent of the total amount of fallout since nuclear warheads began being developed and detonated.

3. Huge Mushroom Cloud

Mushroom cloud of a U.S. nuclear bomb. Wikipedia / Public Domain

Mushroom cloud of a U.S. nuclear bomb.

Of course, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated had a massive mushroom cloud. The mushroom cloud is estimated to have gone as high as 40 miles in the sky, which is about seven times as tall as Mount Everest. At this height, the cloud went through the stratosphere as well as the mesosphere.

The bomb also unleashed a massive fireball to accompany the mushroom cloud. Once detonated, the fireball nearly reached the height at which the bomb was dropped and was visible more than 600 miles away from the site.

4. After Effects

If we were using the Richter scale, the general tool used to measure the strength of earthquakes, the Tsar Bomba would have measured an 8.1. But, because the bomb was detonated in the air, it didn’t cause a crazy shockwave on the ground. A thermal pulse from the blast could be felt several hundred miles away, and third degree burns could be had from the blast as far as 62 miles from the detonation site. Window panes were broken several hundred miles from the site and the blast resulted in a massive in-air shockwave that almost took down the plane that dropped the bomb.