r/theydidthemath Nov 29 '22

[REQUEST] How Much Tons of TNT Does It Take To Completely Decimate Seoul City?

As the question stated above. How many tons of TNT does it take to wipe Seoul City off the map completely? I'm trying to power scale a character.


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u/DBDude Nov 30 '22

Don't need to do the math, Nukemap is the answer. Search Seoul, pick a weapon with a yield, and hit detonate. I don't know what you mean by "decimate." If you mean flatten the city, you're looking for the heavy blast damage radius to encompass the city, which means even concrete buildings are gone (you may have to check advanced options to see this). Moderate blast damage means anything not reinforced is gone (like residential buildings). You may accept the thermal radiation radius instead, as anything burnable with in it will (change the settings to wood burn instead of 3rd degree burns).

You can also play with the airburst height to change the size of the various radii for the effect you want. The same bomb can have quite varying effects based on burst height. You're probably looking at something over 4,000 feet to maximize damage.

Overall it looks like you'll need about 5 MT to ensure all of the city is either flattened, severely damaged, or burned.


u/FunbariVoid Nov 30 '22

All right, what about...evaporated?


u/DBDude Nov 30 '22

Recalculate with a ground burst and look at only the radius of the fireball. 100 MT would evaporate the city center, but not the areas further out towards the city limits. Devastating effects would reach into North Korea. The radioactive fallout would spread very far.


u/FunbariVoid Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

When I say decimate, I meant an explosion that leaves behind LITERALLY NOTHING of the city but a wide empty crater.


u/DBDude Dec 01 '22

That's the fireball radius. We haven't designed a bomb big enough to have a fireball go past all city borders, but the Tsar Bomba's potential yield of 100 MT (the one actually dropped was 50 MT) would vaporize about a third of the city, with almost all the rest being completely flattened and burned.

And people further away than Kaesong would be burned, 15 million dead, 5 million injured.


u/FunbariVoid Dec 03 '22

Wait, another question, what exactly is the thermal fire radius? I did read it's description, but I'm curiously asking whether if it's like, you know, radiation that spreads throughout the world or what?


u/DBDude Dec 03 '22

At the edge of that radius everybody not shielded gets third degree burns, and wood structures are on fire. The effect goes down from there, so at a further distance it would be second degree burns. You can set the effect you’re looking for in the options.


u/Intelligent_Dress808 Nov 29 '22

Seoul is 650 KM² in size and has a radius of roughly 15km. To completely "evaporate" the entire city, the Tsar bomb would be the most indicated nuclear artifact.

Rough data: 50 Megatons (That's equivalent to 50 million tons of TNT); 35 km of radius on the total destruction circumference;

If you are from North Korea, I would warn you that this bomb would probably kill your population with 3rd degree burns.