largest man-made explosion “The Halifax explosion“
The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of 6 December 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire on board the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by blast, debris, fires and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.
Mont-Blanc was under orders from the French government to carry her cargo of high explosives from New York via Halifax toBordeaux, France. At roughly 8:45 am, she collided at low speed – approximately one knot (1 to 1.5 miles per hour or 1.6 to 2.4 kilometres per hour) – with the unladen Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to pick up a cargo of relief supplies in New York. The resulting fire aboard the French ship quickly grew out of control. Approximately 20 minutes later at 9:04:35 am, Mont-Blanc exploded. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons,releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT.
Nearly all structures within an 800-metre (2,600 ft) radius, including the entire community of Richmond, were obliterated. A pressure wave snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and scattered fragments of the Mont-Blanc for kilometres. Hardly a window in the city proper survived the blast. Across the harbour, in Dartmouth, there was also widespread damage. A tsunami created by the blast wiped out the community of Mi’kmaq First Nations people who had lived in the Tuft’s Covearea for generations.
The largest man-made explosion until the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945.