World’s Largest Non-Nuclear Explosion

John Konrad
Total Views: 14
May 13, 2008

Ernie’s Place brings us the world’s largest Non-Nuclear explosion:

Alaska along the coast of British Columbia, there is what is known as the inland passage to Alaska. The surge through the passage is one of the strongest ocean currents in the world. In the middle of this passage is a place called “Seymour Narrows” where the water swirls so strongly that it has been known to suck boats down into the abyss. Sailors dread the passage and even the largest ship has to wait for the right conditions to make a passage.

In the middle of those narrows was a rock called “Ripple Rock” That had two sharp peaks that stuck up to about nine feet below the surface. Just the right depth to gut even the mightiest ship. It sunk 119 ships and killed 114 people. On April 5th 1958 they blew the rock out of the water with the worlds largest non-nuclear explosion. Its’ worth the time to load and watch the clip. To make it full screen click on the Snowflake looking symble in the lower right corner. It will go back to normal when it ends. The End of Ripple Rock

Video at the end of this post.

(Thanks Larry)


Reader Jeremy corrcted our title. Here is information on the World’s Largest Non-Nuclear Explosion (Luck for us it’s still maritime related):

Port Chicago Explosion tells us:

During World War II, one of the sources of ammunition for the Pacific Theater was the Naval Ammunition Depot at Port Chicago, California. Port Chicago is located on an arm of San Francisco Bay about 30 miles northeast of Oakland and San Francisco. The town of Port Chicago, population 1,500, was located about 1.5 miles from the pier. Not far away was Vallejo’s Mare Island, a major Naval Base which included ammunition depots.

On the evening of July 17, 1944 there were two ships being loaded at the pier. The Liberty ship SS E.A. Bryan, after 4 days of loading, had about 4,600 tons of ammunition and explosives on board; 98 black enlisted men continued work. On board the ship were 31 U.S. Merchant Marine crew and 13 Naval Armed Guard.

Docked at the pier since 6 PM that evening was the SS Quinault Victory being loaded by about 100 black men for its maiden voyage. On board were 36 crew and 17 Armed Guard. A Coast Guard fire barge was also moored at the pier. Besides 430 tons of bombs waiting to be loaded, the pier held a locomotive and 16 boxcars with its crew of three civilians, and a marine sentry.

At 10:18 an Army Air Force plane flying at 9,000 feet saw pieces of white hot metal, some as large as a house, fly straight up past them. According to the co-pilot, the “fireworks display” lasted about one minute. The explosion was heard 200 miles away.

More information can be found at and HERE. Photos from the day can be found HERE.

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