As we all know, explosions are right up there with sex on the awesome scale. They are the perfect visual representation of man's need to destroy. Guns, Fight Clubs, and even ninjas, all fall short to the mighty power of a truly great explosion.
*YAWWWWN* Good morning, Halifax!
When: December 6, 1917
Where: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
What the Hell Happened?
On a not-so-especially-cold-I-mean-this-is-Canada-here morning in the Halifax harbor, two huge vessels went in for a hug and set off the biggest man-made explosion of its time. 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured from an explosion equivalent to 1/5th of an atom bomb, or 3 kilotons of TNT.
The Norwegian Imo was just going to deliver some relief supplies to Belgium, while the French (who saw that coming?) SS Mont-Blanc was...well...full to the brim with wartime explosives. Alright, alright, those must have been some flammable relief supplies, but still, how do two cargo ships of such massive size manage to not see each other? ...Wait, scratch that. It's absolutely no surprise that the two durptards collided when you actually look into the details.
Around 7:30AM, an American (Balls! How'd we get dragged into this?) trade vessel was on the wrong side of the narrow, curving harbour passage (coincidentally named The Narrows) heading straight for the Imo. The two vessels agreed to pass on the wrong sides of each other because it would be more convenient, or something, and all was good. But now our Belgian relief-supplier needed to get back over to the right side of the road and (un?)fortunately for them, oncoming vessels were kind enough to go around, leaving the Imo on the wrong side. Once the ships had all passed, the innocent Norwegian ship began to drift over to the right side of the passage.
This is where those French guys come in. Like the Belgium-bound relief-supplying happy ship, the Mont-Blanc was also on the wrong side of the road. Here we are finally pulling into the right lane and the French come and fuck it up. The two vessels begin blowing their whistles, telling each other to get the hell out of the way, and eventually the Imo's Captain Le Medec gets fed up with their shit and directly orders them to move.
The Final Showdown
Ohhh, you said winter wonderland...
...I thought you said winter thunderland.
Due to crappy last minute decisions on behalf of both ships, they ended up on the opposite side of the passage and heading, once again, straight towards each other. The front end of the Imo ends up ramming straight through the cargo ship as if the French built their boats out of cardboard and sticky tack, igniting boxes of fragranced candles and assorted soothing smellies. Except said candles and smellies were motor fuel and TNT chemicals. The Imo attemped to pull out, only igniting more fuel, as the two ships drfited through the harbor ablaze (we're still talking about the boats, right? Oh okay, good...). The crews abandoned ship as onlookers gathered on the bays and firefighters rushed to the scene. Then at 9:30AM, two hours after the Imo had entered The Narrows like a naive 12 year-old just discovering masturbation, the Mont-Blanc exploded, instantly killing 1,600 people and triggering the goddamn apocalypse.
First, a mother-fucking tsunami 60 feet taller than any wave should ever be, and Halifax's high-water mark, lifted the Imo vessel onto the Dartmouth shore (I only included the name because of its badassery). The wave then body-slammed the city, dragging people into the water while everyone else was pinned down by raining shards of hot metal and getting covered in soot for ten minutes. Anyone nearby was left in a state of utter confusion and barely alive to experience the next wave of Hell. But the next wave wasn't made of water, but wind; shockwaves blew through buildings and trees, knocking over furnaces and stoves which led to dozens of fires throughout the harbour, resulting in a one mile radius around the collision point uninhabitable.
Your days are numbered, piggies.
And that, folks, is a near damn perfect explosion. Nice dramatic set-up, 1.2 mile-high fireball of a mushroom cloud, beautiful chain reaction that would send Rube Goldberg to tears, and the fact it was all kicked off by some nosey Americans make this explosion delightedly devastating.