THERMO NU­CLEAR WEAPON:

See “hy­dro­gen bomb”

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - HOW YOUR WORLD WORKS -

AIR­BURST:

A nu­clear weapon det­o­nated in the air to max­imise de­struc­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Since the blast comes from above, it is less con­tained by build­ings around it.

FALL­OUT:

When a nu­clear ex­plo­sion oc­curs at ground level, the blast blows bits of dirt and de­bris into the air, where they be­come ra­dioac­tive and are car­ried by the winds be­fore fall­ing back down to Earth.

YIELD:

The de­struc­tive power of a nu­clear weapon.

ATOMIC BOMB:

A bomb pow­ered by nu­clear fis­sion, the split­ting of atoms. Most atomic bombs are rated in kilo­tons – each of which is the equiv­a­lent of 1 000 tons of TNT.

GROUND BURST:

A nu­clear weapon det­o­nated on the ground. It causes less wide­spread de­struc­tion than an air­burst but re­leases fall­out.

ICBM:

A mis­sile that can travel thou­sands of miles by ex­it­ing Earth’s at­mos­phere, hit­ting sub­or­bital space, and re-en­ter­ing the at­mos­phere. Most com­monly used in the de­liv­ery of nu­clear weapons.

HY­DRO­GEN BOMB:

Also called a ther­monu­clear weapon, this type of bomb is much more pow­er­ful than an atomic bomb. It’s ac­tu­ally set off by an atomic bomb, and gets its power from the re­sult­ing nu­clear fu­sion, the com­bin­ing of atoms. Most hy­dro­gen bombs are rated in mega­tons, the equiv­a­lent of 1 000 kilo­tons.

PRE­VAIL­ING WINDS:

Air cur­rents over a par­tic­u­lar area that typ­i­cally flow in the same di­rec­tion.

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