What If We Throw A Nuclear Bomb In Mariana Trench?

Source: Freepik

What would happen if a nuke went off in the Mariana Trench? This is the Tsar Bomba, the nuke that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev promised to show the West during the Cold War: 58.6 megatons of sheer, unadulterated power, with a subsequent blast wave that circled the globe three times

What is Mariana Trench?

This is the Mariana Trench, the deepest crack in the Earth's surface, a canyon almost 7 miles (11 km) deep, up to three miles (5 km) wide, and completely filled with water.  The Tsar Bomba was dropped from a height of 6.5 miles (about 10 ½ km), which is almost equal to the depth of the Mariana Trench coincidence

I don't think so, so what happens if we drop a nuke into the depths of the Mariana Trench for a good and proper cup boom? Alright, so we've decided to blow up the Mariana Trench😀. Before answering the question, what happens? We have to figure out a method for delivering the bomb to a depth of 7 miles (11 km), and it's not as simple as you might think. 

What if we throw a Nuclear Bomb in the Mariana Trench?

After all, the density of water in Mariana Trench is about 1 g/cm3 , which means that at these depths, the water pressure will reach 110 mega Pascal's, which is 1,100 times the normal atmospheric pressure for our purposes. This means that a nuclear bomb with the standard outer layer of lead will simply get crushed flat without detonating. 

Of course, the amusing but lackluster end result would be eight giant uranium pancakes🥞, 130 feet (40 m) in diameter, ending up at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. This pancake will emit radiation for centuries, as the half-life of uranium is 2,000 years. But in this scenario, there will be no explosion; the charge won't be compressed to the point of critical mass, and the thermonuclear shell of the bomb will tear off halfway to the bottom and dissolve in water. 

So let's say the bomb will be lowered down inside a bath escape. That's a deep-sea submersible designed to withstand high pressure and optionally be remotely controlled. In this case, we're going to get our bang, and there's actually more than one way for that to happen. 

Throwing a Nuclear Bomb in the Mariana Trench: At a depth of 5 to 8 km

If the bomb is detonated at a depth of between 3 and 5 miles (5-8 km). The explosion won't be that much different from your typical underwater nuclear test, except for a tsunami 400 feet  (122 m) high that will appear on the surface of the Pacific Ocean and completely wash away. 

Japan and all of Southeast Asia, as well as half of Australia and the eastern regions of China, will see tremendous flooding, and the US Pacific Coast, especially San Francisco and Los Angeles, will be besieged with waves up to 250 feet (76 m). Other corners of the globe will get their share too, albeit somewhat milder, relatively speaking. Also, the background radiation in the Pacific will rise slightly for a few days before going back to normal. 

Throwing a Nuclear Bomb in the Mariana Trench: At a depth of 8 to 11 km

If the bomb is detonated at a depth of between 5 and 7 miles (8–11 km) or at the very bottom, then we'll have to take into account the fact that the Mariana Depression is located at the boundary between two tectonic plates. The Pacific in Filipino, if the world's most powerful nuclear device is set off at this spot, the shock wave from the blast, reinforced by the hydrostatic effect, will produce a tremendous downward force precisely at the location of one of the lithosphere's weak spots

Source: Britannica

As a result, the plates will start either converging or diverging very quickly, and either option spells trouble for humankind, so if the bomb explodes at or near the bottom, we're not going to get away with just a really big splash

The energy received at the base will be directed to the boundaries of the tectonic plates at the speed of sound, and part of that energy will be reflected back up from the bottom of the trench, to be liberated at the surface in the form of a colossal ultra-tsunami😮. Only this time, the tsunami will be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg

Source: Google Images

Next, we'll see massive magnitude 12 earthquakes occur across the entire Ring of Fire, which will then give rise to a second installment of mega-tsunamis even higher than before, which will next be treated to a gargantuan release of magma back at the area of the explosion. 

This will set off a chain of volcanic eruptions. To complete the picture, lest these survivors and highlanders, assume they've been given a lucky break. This volcanic activity will continue for at least a month, so expect the earth to be assaulted with seemingly endless acid rain while the airborne ash will interfere with air travel needed for humanitarian missions. 

In addition to blocking out much of the light from the sun, which to me smells awfully like nuclear winter or, at the very least, a couple of very cold years coupled with the tsunamis. The cold spell may result in a globe-spanning catastrophe, with many species, including humans, ending up on the brink of extinction. 

Throwing at a depth of 2.5 km: But it's a Tsar Bomba

There's also the possibility that a Tsar Bomba type explosion at a depth of only about 1.5 miles ( 2½ km) from the bottom of the Mariana Trench could punch a hole in the Earth's crust sufficient to produce a magma fountain😮. The fountain would then form a new continent while also bringing about the same tsunamis and environmental problems previously discussed. 

In addition, the tremendous impact could push the planet very slightly out of its current orbit. This will either bring us closer to the Sun, where it will thoroughly fry, with dear old Earth turning into something like a second Venus😂. On the contrary, the impact might move our orbit further out, where we would descend into a kind of permanent winter. 

Finally, there's the possibility that it's so powerful that an explosion at the location of a tectonic fault will simply tear the planet itself apart. 

The fate of humankind in that scenario is easy to see. Fortunately, however, the likelihood of any of the above happening is extremely low, as experience shows in the end that humans are no fools🤔. 

Shortly after the successful atmospheric test of the Tsar Bomba in 1963, the nuclear club countries signed in Moscow a treaty banning nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, or underwater, a safeguard of sorts to prevent future attacks.

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