What would happen, if evil aliens would like to play a prank on us, and use their handwavium-powered hypermagic to do the following:

  • transport all explosives, including fireworks, dynamite, bombs, nuclear bombs, etc... to one place, let's say the point which faces prograde (in the direction in which earth moves to) right now.

  • set them off immediately

Would Earth be destroyed, would the orbit of the Earth change drastically so that we would be either grilled or frozen, or would it just be a good old nuclear winter?

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    $\begingroup$ Depends. Where did the explosives get transported to: London, England; Challenger Deep; the peak of Mt. Everest; the Moon; Jupiter; Alpha Centauri? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 3 '15 at 14:27

The non-nuclear bits won't factor in this since by mass they produce < 0.0000001 energy of a nuclear bomb.

The Gravitational Binding Energy of the Earth is about $2.24 \cdot 10^{32} J$.

The combined explosive energy of the US and Russian nuclear arsenals is about $3,366 MT$ ~ $1.4 \cdot 10^{19} J$. So this arsenal is about ~ $\times 10^{13}$ too small to disrupt the Earth - meaning the Earth would not be destroyed.

It would not affect the Earth's orbit.

Detonating them all in place would be (IMO) much safer than distributing the explosions across the globe. (IMO), carefully distributing them across the globe stands a reasonable chance of driving the human species to extinction.

Detonating them all in one place would have severe consequences but I'm confident the human species would survive and reasonably sure our civilization would survive too.

According to this table the 2011 Indonesia earthquake and Tsunami released about $1000 \times$ the energy of the global nuclear arsenal - it "only" killed on the order of 100,000 people.

The table also indicates that the Chicxulub impact released about $100,000 \times$ the energy of the global nuclear arsenal. It did not kill all the dinosaurs (the ancestors of birds survived). I would consider this the minimum energy required to kill all humans with an explosion ~$10 \times$ larger required to ensure you've killed all humans.

$$\begin{array}{|c|c|c|} \hline \text{Energy MT} & \text{Energy J} & \text{Notes} \\\hline 200 & 8.2 \times 10^{17} & \text{Explosive yield of Krakatoa ~130 years ago} \\\hline 1,000 & 4.6 \times 10^{18} & \text{Explosive yield of Lake Toba supervolcano ~75,000 years ago} \\\hline 3,400 & 1.4 \times 10^{19} & \text{min size of global arsenal} \\\hline 7,000 & 3.0 \times 10^{19} & \text{max size of global arsenal} \\\hline 250,000 & 1.1 \times 10^{21} & \text{Explosive yield of La Garita supervolcano ~ 50 mya} \\\hline 7,000,000 & 3.0 \times 10^{22} & \text{Energy released by 2011 Indonesian earthquake and Tsunami} \\\hline 700,000,000 & 3.0 \times 10^{24} & \text{Chicxulub impact ~65 mya - min energy to kill all humans} \\\hline 7,000,000,000 & 3.0 \times 10^{25} & \text{Energy to kill all humans with certainty} \\\hline 5.1 \times 10^{16} & 2.2 \times 10^{32} & \text{Earth's gravitational binding energy} \\\hline \end{array} $$

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    $\begingroup$ To quote Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy about how much damage the bulldozer would take if it ran Arthur Dent over: "None at all." $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jun 3 '15 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ Peak inventories were over 10x the megatonnage but compared to natural disasters, our destructive power really doesn't compare to the worst nature can throw at us. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Jun 3 '15 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ Detonating them all in one place would cause so much more than just an explosive blast, the shock wave would circle the earth multiple times, tectonic plates would be disturbed making the earth shake with earthquakes all round the planet, volcano would erupt, tsunamis would hit multiple shores with the magnitude of the Indonesian one. $\endgroup$ – Magic-Mouse Jun 3 '15 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ Humans survived Lake Toba which had a similar explosive yield. Except for localized damage, human civilization barely noticed Krakatoa. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Jun 3 '15 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Magic-Mouse why would a shock wave caused by detonating a bunch of explosives have such a profound effect as opposed to the shock wave caused by the 2011 earthquake, at 1,000 times the energy? True the shock wave would contain higher frequency components to it, but those tend to attenuate faster. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jun 3 '15 at 16:14

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