This weekend, North Korea conducted their most powerful nuclear test ever, with what was believed to be a hydrogen bomb in the northern part of their country. The explosion was so massive that it triggered a man-made earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale. If North Korean sources are to be believed, the bomb tested was a powerful 100 kiloton weapon.
According to dcclothesline.com:
But that’s not all. To take the massive threat to an entirely different level, the North Korean state news also warned that a powerful hydrogen bomb could be detonated at a high altitude to create an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) capable of taking out parts of the American power grid. (PS: They have two satellites orbiting over the United States that could potentially carry out such an attack.)
Knowledge is power, so let’s break down this information with some explanations.
What is a hydrogen bomb?
A hydrogen bomb has some similarities to an atom bomb, but works using an opposite chemical reaction and is far more powerful. Both hydrogen bombs and atomic bombs are nuclear in nature, so after the initial blast, there would be deadly radioactive fallout and environmental issues.
An atom bomb is what was used by the United States against the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War 2.
Nuclear fission produces the atomic bomb, a weapon of mass destruction that uses power released by the splitting of atomic nuclei.
When a single free neutron strikes the nucleus of an atom of radioactive material like uranium or plutonium, it knocks two or three more neutrons free. Energy is released when those neutrons split off from the nucleus, and the newly released neutrons strike other uranium or plutonium nuclei, splitting them in the same way, releasing more energy and more neutrons. This chain reaction spreads almost instantaneously.
To give you an idea of the power of an atomic bomb, Hiroshima was hit with the power of 15,000 tons of TNT, while Nagasaki was blasted with the destructive power of 21,000 tons of TNT.
A hydrogen bomb works differently.
Nuclear fusion is a reaction that releases atomic energy by the union of light nuclei at high temperatures to form heavier atoms. Hydrogen bombs, which use nuclear fusion, have higher destructive power and greater efficiencies than atomic bombs.
Due to the high temperatures required to initiate a nuclear fusion reaction, the process is often referred to as a thermonuclear explosion. This is typically done with the isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) which fuse together to form Helium atoms. This led to the term “hydrogen bomb” to describe the deuterium-tritium fusion bomb. (source)
Hydrogen bombs (H-bombs) have been used before.
The first hydrogen bomb was exploded on November 1, 1952 at the small island Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. Its destructive power was several megatons of TNT. The blast, timed at 19:15 GMT, produced a light brighter than 1,000 suns and a heat wave felt 50 kilometres away. The Soviet Union detonated a hydrogen bomb in the megaton range in August of 1953. The US exploded a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb on March 1, 1954. It had a fireball of 4.8 km in diameter and created a huge mushroom-shaped cloud. (source)
An h-bomb is expected to be 700 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, during which more than 150,000 people died. But they didn’t die all at once. Many of them suffered terrible, lingering deaths of agony. Here is the breakdown of this from a UCLA report.
- Very large numbers of person were crushed in their homes and in the buildings in which they were working. Their skeletons could be seen in the debris and ashes for almost 1,500 meters from the center of the blast, particularly in the downwind directions.
- Large numbers of the population walked for considerable distances after the detonation before they collapsed and died.
- Large numbers developed vomiting and bloody and watery diarrhea (vomitus and bloody feces were found on the floor in many of the aid stations), associated with extreme weakness. They died in the first and second weeks after the bombs were dropped.
- During this same period, deaths from internal injuries and from burns were common. Either the heat from the fires or infrared radiation from the detonations caused many burns, particularly on bare skin or under dark clothing.
- After a lull without peak mortality from any special causes, deaths began to occur from purpura, which was often associated with epilation, anemia, and a yellowish coloration of the skin. The so-called bone marrow syndrome, manifested by a low white blood cell count and almost complete absence of the platelets necessary to prevent bleeding, was probably at its maximum between the fourth and sixth weeks after the bombs were dropped. (source)
Now, multiply the above by 700 times and you’ll have a good idea of the horrifying affects of a hydrogen bomb. If it were to strike a major population area in the United States, the death toll would be astounding.
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