Anthony- Obviously we can't give you an exact answer, because so far as
we know there isn't a single standard size for dynamite sticks, and
there certainly is a range of sizes for atom bombs. So I'll go through
a very rough calculation.
Let's say a stick of dynamite weighs a couple of pounds. A good
deal of that is inert matter. (I think it's diatomaceous earth- shells
of little sea creatures.) Anyway, let's say that each stick has
something like a pound of high explosive. A smallish atom bomb, like
the one that destroyed Hiroshima, has the explosive power of some 15
kilotons of high explosive, or 30,000,000 pounds. So something like
thirty million sticks should work fine, if you can figure out a way to
make them all go off at once. Fortunately, this is difficult and
expensive and detectable enough that we don't have to check into your
security clearance before revealing this information.
By the way, a typical modern bomb in the U.S. arsenal has about 15
times more explosive power than that. The U.S. and Russia each have
thousands on missiles pointed at each other. In response to the U.S.
breaking out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty a few months ago,
Russia announced it would feel free to keep its missiles on "launch on
warning". The warning would come from reliable Russian technology. So
that's an awful lot of sticks of dynamite that could go off any time.
On a lighter note, we don't really know how much explosive is in a black cat firework.
(republished on 07/17/06)