Everyone familiar with Godzilla should know of his iconic blue atomic breath. I've seen "theories" (technically not really theories) on how Godzilla's atomic breath works on the web. However, what about a green atomic breath? Could there be a plausible explanation for a green-hued, flame-like heat ray based on nuclear radiation?

I've seen comments saying Godzilla's atomic breath could be made of plasma, but the problem with this one in particular is that green is not associated with thermal emission (plus, the Japanese Godzilla's atomic breath gets hotter as it goes from blue to red, which is the exact opposite behavior of real-life plasma).

I've found examples through Google Images of real-life plasma jets becoming green after being injected with chemicals like boron and copper. I then read that Type II supernovae can produce boron and that supernovae can also produce copper. That started to give me ideas, but as far as I know, supernovae have not been observed to be green.

Follow up: Could there be a plausible explanation for lighting water on fire through non-chemical means?

  • $\begingroup$ Why do you want to separate chemical means from this? Perhaps Godzilla has a normal chemical spray which gets lit on fire by its insane radiation. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ I wanted to know if it was possible to light water on fire without igniting some separate substance on top of it like an oil fire. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ Due to the stability of water, it's basically impossible to set it on fire -- you'd need an oxidizing agent which would form even more stable chemicals. But at face value, I suppose you could break it down into its base elements and light those on fire, with enough energy. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I thought I read somewhere that radiation could break the bonds between hydrogen and oxygen, but it required something along the lines of frequency in the TeraHertz range and when I plugged that into a blackbody radiation calculator (I pictured the flames themselves as a blackbody), I got a temperature of about 2.9 billion K. I'm unsure about this. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't sweat the degree of radiation required so much as the idea of a creature breathing raw radiation. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


Simplest answer?

Mineral deposits on the teeth.

Flames can burn with a variety of different colours when exposed to different metals. Godzilla has a habit of biting and tearing through metal boats, for which he will need exceptionally strong teeth.

It therefore stands to reason that Godzilla's teeth are coated with (and potentially made up of) some form of metal alloy. Potentially in layers similar to our own enamel structure. When he breathes fire the metals react with the plasma in his breath, resulting in a coloured flame.

As he breathes for longer periods of time, or breathes hotter, lower layers with different compositions are revealed, resulting in different (almost arbitrary, see a list here) colours of breath.

Though he will occasionally have to chew on some copper cabling.


Think about what elements burn or fluoresce green. Krypton fluoresces green and it used in "neon" signs that call for green coloring. Barium burns green. Perhaps one of these or other elements burning or being taken to a plasma state and fluorescing could cause an effect like this.

This is an image of burning borate: http://www.amazingrust.com/Experiments/how_to/Images/Flame%20Test/Trimethyl_Borate/Trimethyl_Borate-flame.jpg

This is green plasma in an enclosed gas tube (a bit different, but can maybe be stretched to apply): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv9txBM9U5E

  • $\begingroup$ I found examples of plasma jets burning green after being injected with copper and boron, so it might work something like chemical fires. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 18:57

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