Nuclear bombs are so powerful that they're virtually unfathomable. But there have been plenty of other mind-boggling blasts on Earth. How much do you know about the biggest non-nuclear explosions?
Note to self -- do not crash one ship into another ship loaded with high explosives. That's what happened in Canada in 1917 when a ship packed with World War I explosives crashed into another.
The Halifax explosion had the energy of about 2.9 kilotons of TNT. The ship exploded in harbor, killing nearly 2,000 people and injuring thousands more … meaning these munitions caused more harm to their handlers than in many of the war zones that they were meant to target.
In summer 1944, a crew of men in Port Chicago, California, was loading munitions onto a ship bound for the front lines of World War II. The crew handled the munitions rather haphazardly, perhaps triggering the explosion.
At least 320 people were killed and about 400 were injured due to the tremendous blast. Before the explosion, dozens of men had refused to load the ammunition because they were certain that the handling procedures were too dangerous. History proved that they were right.
In 1985, the U.S. decided to blow up 4.8 kilotons of conventional explosives as part of a bomb test. The enormous explosion was meant to mimic the effects of a small nuclear device.
The military was testing a range of hardware. It especially wanted to know how much damage its ballistic missile launchers would incur during such a large explosion.
Bresica is a town in what's now Italy, and there was warehouse filled with roughly 200,000 pounds of gunpowder. A random lightning strike triggered the explosion, which may have killed more than 2,500 citizens.
In 1945, the United States set off some huge conventional explosives for the sake of nuclear testing. The Trinity test was 100 tons of high explosives that generated a fireball visible at least 60 miles away from the test site.
The U.S. Army conducted the test at the White Sands testing range in New Mexico. It blasted the area with the force of 20 kilotons of TNT.
In 1908, a huge meteor disintegrated several miles above Siberia. The resulting explosion may have released energy in the equivalent of 30 megatons of TNT.
The blast flattened tens of millions of trees covering more than 800 square miles. Researchers don't know if the explosion killed any people.
The blast was heard at least 120 miles away. The explosion was caused by a train that rammed into blasting gelatine meant for gold mining operations.
The immense blast left a crater that was more than 25 feet deep and 200 feet long. It destroyed about 3,000 homes and killed more than 70 people.
The ammo shipment was moving via ship from Iran to Syria, where it would have been used in the years-long Syrian civil war. Instead, authorities in Cyprus seized the shipment and then let it sit in the sun ... and then it exploded.
In spite of its immensity, the explosion killed just 13 people. But it also damaged a power plant, resulting in power shortages for much of the island, causing temporary blackouts.
British engineers tunneled towards German lines and planted huge charges, and then blew up all 19 mines at the same time. It is still considered one of the loudest sounds in human history, and it marked the beginning of one of the bloodiest battles of all-time.
The biggest charge was 40,000 pounds. The craters left by the huge bombs were so big that they dwarfed the soldiers who climbed through them.
During the Cold War, the USSR created and tested its series of N1 rockets, and the second attempt crashed and blew up. The blast sent shrapnel flying at least six miles from the area.
The N-1 rocket contained the most powerful first stage ever. But the program's hasty research and construction proved to be a fatal flaw that ended in one of the biggest blasts in history, a fireball that was spotted more than 20 miles away.
The Nazis had built a large fort on one of the Heligoland Islands, located in the North Sea. The British decided to blow up the entire island to rid themselves of this World War II relic. The huge bomb permanently altered the landscape but did not entirely destroy the island.
After the war, the Germans were allowed to take control of the island. They removed all of the wartime debris, completely landscaped the area and it's now a popular vacation destination.
As army trucks hauled more than 1,000 boxes of dynamite through downtown Cali, Colombia, the explosives detonated. Roughly 4,000 people died and about 12,000 people were injured.
The RAF Fauld explosion happened in Staffordshire, England in 1944. It is still the most powerful non-nuclear explosion to ever occur in England. The explosion probably happened to due careless bomb handling.
The explosion destroyed countless bombs and million of rounds of rifle ammunition that would have been useful in fighting the Nazis. The resulting explosion damaged a reservoir, unleashing a substantial flood that added to the misery of everyone who lived around the site.
In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia began erupting with immense violence, and the explosion was heard hundreds of miles away. The resulting debris clogged the skies all around the Earth, causing temperatures to drop during the Year Without a Summer.
The Russians developed the FOAB, a high-explosive bomb designed as an alternative to nukes. They tested the bomb for the first time in 2007.
The FOAB has a yield on par with nearly 45 tons of TNT, but because it's non-nuclear it doesn't create deadly fallout, a relief for nearby survivors. Those within the blast zone are still out of luck.
A French ship loaded with almost 8,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate caught fire … and you can guess what happened next. Roughly 2.7 kilotons of energy were released, starting fires and triggering explosions in onshore facilities.
The ship's cargo created unusual colored smoke that drew hundreds of curious onlookers, who assumed that they weren't in danger. They were wrong. Nearly 600 people perished.
The accident launched the first-ever class action suit against the U.S. government, claiming that many mistakes were made in the handling of the ship and its contents. In the end, the courts awarded roughly $17 million to the plaintiffs.