The first important fact about the gigaton you should know is that it is equal to 1 billion (109) tons of TNT. However the term is sometimes used to refer to the ton or tonne in general. The ton is equivalent to 2,204.62262 lbs or 1000 kg. In terms of mass, it is the same as 1 cubic meter of water.
Use in the SI System
The measurement isn’t part of the SI unit but it’s often used there. The prefix for the ton is Mg or megagram. However, the Mg is hardly employed. The word “tonne” had been used since the 1840s. In the US the metric ton is more commonly used.
A look at the facts about the gigaton show the ton is equal to 1 megagram. As stated, it is equal to about 2204 lbs. or 98.42% of the long ton. To be precise, the long ton is equal to 2240 lbs. It is 101.605% of the gigaton. Percentage wise, it is 110.23% of the short ton. Calculations will show the short ton is equal to 90.72% of the ton.
The Ton / Gigaton Symbol
When making measurements, the t, T, mT or mt signs are used. The mt stands for mega tons. For a million metric tons, mmt is the common designation. However these designations are not always used when making measurements. The reason is that the signs are employed by the SI unit.
For example, the M in the SI unit stands for mili and the t for tesla. So, when evaluating facts about the gigaton, don’t be surprised if the signs are not employed. The sign Te is employed in the nuclear industry, which can also add to the confusion.
Ton and Tonne
In Britain, France and other countries, “tonne” is used instead of “ton”. The measurement used is actually close to the long ton (1020 kg). The tonne is hardly used in the US and the metric ton (or just ton) is used.
In the States, the short ton is equal to 907.1847 kg. As you can see there is actually a difference between the two. The European tonne is equal to 2240 lbs. In the United States it is equal to 2000 lbs. In colloquial use however, ton, tonne and gigaton are interchangeable.
The Ton and Energy Mass
An assessment of the facts about the gigaton will lead to a study of the ton’s use in TNT (trinitrotoluene). When using the ton or tonne in TNT measurements, various prefixes are used. This includes the kilotonne, the megatonne and the gigatonne. In particular the ton is utilized to express the power of an explosion (i.e., “the bomb exploded with a force equal to 10 tons of TNT”).
The symbol for the kilotonne is Kt and its name is the gigagram (Gg). The megatonne’s symbol is Mt (teragram, Tg). The gigatonne (as it is sometimes spelled) symbol is Gt (petagram Pg).
For the layman, a lot of the facts about the gigaton may seem irrelevant. But if you’re a scientist or involved in mass / energy research, knowing this type of information is essential.