Here are 7 problems that were fixed with some big uses of explosives.
1. Flood Rock
In 1885, The US Army Corps of Engineers blew up an island in the East River with 300,000 lbs. of explosives. The blast was felt as far away as Princeton, New Jersey. The debris was used 5 years later to fill in the space between two other islands, creating the island now known as Mill Rock.
2. British Bang (1947)
After WWII, Britain faced two problems. One was a bunch of excess ammunition from the war. The other- a small archipelago in the North Sea called Heligoland that the Germans had used as a base for the duration of the war. Britain perceived the island as a threat in the future and wanted to literally get rid of it. Naturally, they saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and they decided to strap 6,800 tonnes of left-over explosives to the island. Again, the intention was to cripple the fortifications, but they would’ve accepted the complete destruction of the entire island. Unfortunately for them, the island survived and was re-settled by Germans.
3. Operation Chase
Americans faced the same problem as the Britis hwith left-over ammunition after the war and Operation CHASE, between 1964 and 1970, was their best-fit solution. They filled warships to the brim with tons of the stuff and scuttled them in the Atlantic. The first went off without a hitch, but the second one unexpectedly exploded. The mission came to a halt when the last couple of ships had chemical weapons inside them, and the public grew upset for some strange reason.
4. Henderson’s Point (1905)
Teddy Roosevelt was thinking of expanding the U.S. navy and wanted to make the Portsmouth naval base in Kittery, New Hampshire (now Maine) to accommodate more ships. There was a problem- a peninsula called Henderson’s Point was preventing him from doing so. Rather then find a more suitable location for a larger harbor, they blew Henderson’s point off the face of the earth. Problem solved – The explosion widened the river by 350 feet in mere seconds.
5. Tsar Bomba (1961)
Tsar Bomba, also called The King of Bombs was the largest, and perhaps most unnecessary of all, man-made explosions. In the height of the Cold War, the United States and Russia were having the equivalent of a nuclear pissing contest. They took turns making bigger and bigger nuclear explosions until the Russians detonated the Tsar Bomba. It was an estimated 57 megatons. That’s ten times all of the ammunition used in WWII, including both atomic bombs.
6. Ripple Rock (1958)
Ripple Rock was a twin-peaked, underwater mountain in the Seymour Narrows in Canada. Much like Flood Rock, it was in the middle of a trade route, however; its peak was only three meters below the water’s surface at low tide, and a lot of ships ran aground on it. More than 100 people were killed.
7. Medeu Dam
Almaty, Kazakhstan is built on an alluvial fan. The river valley area is very steep, making it extremely prone to mud flows and debris flows. This was a major problem, but in the mid-1960s the Soviet Union decided they were sick of taking that river’s problems, and so they came up with a solution: They would build a dam. Using high explosives. Totally Unnecessary.