The tests were carried out in waters around New Caledonia and Auckland during the Second World War and showed that the weapon was feasible and a series of 10 large offshore blasts could potentially create a 33-foot tsunami capable of inundating a small city.
The top secret operation, code-named "Project Seal", tested the doomsday device as a possible rival to the nuclear bomb. About 3,700 bombs were exploded during the tests, first in New Caledonia and later at Whangaparaoa Peninsula, near Auckland.
The plans came to light during research by a New Zealand author and film-maker, Ray Waru, who examined military files buried in the national archives.
"Presumably if the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did, we might have been tsunami-ing people," said Mr Waru.
|The 2011 tsunami in Japan|