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One of the world's largest non-nuclear explosions took place in B.C.

Boom goes the Nitramex 2H
The explosion of Ripple Rock in Discovery Passage once held the record for the largest non-nuclear peacetime explosion in the world

At one point in time B.C. held the title of having staged the largest peacetime non-nuclear explosion to date.

The Ripple Rock explosion took place in the Pacific Ocean in 1958, just off Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

Years of planning resulted in the explosion of an underwater mountain that lurked just a few metres below the surface at low tide, and was a major pain in the neck for ships trying to get through a narrow section of Discovery Passage.

When it was intact it created a hazardous standing wave and whirlpools in a narrow part of the passage when the tide was going in or out, hence the name Ripple Rock. One hundred-fourteen people died in nautical accidents because of it.

A true spectacle to behold, the explosion was one of the first events to be live broadcast on TV all across Canada. It was also marked as a National Historic Event.

In order to achieve it they bored underneath the ocean floor, then up into the mountain where they packed in nearly 1,300 tons of Nitramex 2H explosives.

And while it resulted in a safer journey through the narrows, the event itself was also a boon for the local economy.

One group of locals organized a bus service to a viewing point on the day of the explosion, charging a dollar a head for people to get on it. They made a nice chunk of change until the RCMP shut down the road the buses were going down, for safety reasons.

After the explosion, some people sold postcards showing a photo sequence of the explosion, others sold trinkets, and somebody even sold pieces of rock that were the actual drillings that the crews took out to pack in the explosives.

The Museum at Campbell River has an exhibit dedicated to the Ripple Rock explosion, and there are still locals who are alive who talk about the day.


@bcisawesome Ripple rock 🪨 #bchistorywithbobk #vancouverisland #campbellriver #boating ♬ original sound - BC Is Awesome


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