Why Do Bombs Create Mushroom Clouds?

3 January 2018, 16:36

Mushroom cloud
Picture: N/A

What makes the explosion from a bomb look like a mushroom?


Why do atomic explosions create mushroom clouds?

Tim, Clapham



Name: Professor Hal

Qualification: Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Brighton, with a cub-scout badge in science

Answer: if it’s a hydrogen bomb, it reaches a temperature of 100 million degrees at ground level. So hot air rises, and the stalk of the mushroom is the hot air rising, carrying with it the debris and igneous rock. At some point, the density of the air gets thinner, and the air that has been rising reaches the same density as the air around it, so it starts flapping out, so that’s where the cap of the mushroom comes.