“The blast was over 3,000 times bigger than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima,” reports Smithsonian magazine:
Hydrogen bombs are so destructive, their impact has been described as unthinkable throughout history. Recently declassified Russian footage of the 1961 Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb test shows why. The 40-minute documentary, which was posted on YouTube on August 20, shows footage of the largest bomb ever detonated on Earth, Thomas Nilsen reports for the Barents Observer.
Video footage shows the blast from several angles, sometimes struggling to show the entire mushroom cloud in the frame. Later, the documentary compares the ice-covered archipelago before the blast to the scorched, red and brown landscape left behind afterward. The Soviet Union tested the 50-million-ton hydrogen bomb, officially named RDS-220 and nicknamed Tsar Bomba, in late October 1961, Matthew Gault reports for Vice. This test occured during the height of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the United States competed to build the largest and most destructive nuclear weapons.
“There was a megatonnage race — who was going to have a bigger bomb,” atomic age historian Robert S. Norris tells the New York Times’ William Broad. “And the Soviets won….” It was three times as large as the biggest bomb ever detonated by the U.S., dubbed Castle Bravo.
schwit1 shares more information from Popular Mechanics:
It’s difficult to truly get across how powerful RDS-220 was. The mushroom cloud reached an altitude of 210,000 feet, and people observed the flash through bad weather at 621 miles. An observer felt heat from the explosion at a distance of 168 miles, and the bomb was capable of inflicting third-degree burns at 62 miles.