Unlike photon and quantum torpedoes whose explosive potential is measured in isotons (much like 20th Century atomic weapons being measured in the equivalent amount of TNT in tons needed to cause such an explosion) the tricobalt torpedoes in this episode were calibrated to a yield of 20,000 terracochranes, which is said to be more then enough for the Caretaker array and caused a subspace tear to form. Cochranes are the unit used to measure subspace field stress, such as in warp fields.
Therefore, we can assume that the purpose of using tricobalt devices is to distort space around an object by causing subspace instability, and that fields around 20,000 teracochranes can actually tear the fabric between normal space and subspace for short periods of time. The subspace field needed to propel a ship at Warp 9 is around 1000 cochranes, so the distortion of space as a result of these devices is enormous in comparison, and could easily destroy objects through means of a shearing force. It's comparable in some respects to an earthquake, and how the shearing forces can crumble a building that's normally stable.
|SECURITY AND TACTICAL DEPARTMENT|
|IMPORTANT ERRATA||Security and Tactical Department • Security and Tactical Positions • Specialized Duty Posts • Security Clearances|
|TACTICAL SYSTEMS||Ablative Armor • MLSS Shields • Phaser Arrays • Photon Torpedoes • Quantum Torpedoes • Tri-Cobalt Torpedoes|
|SECURITY FUNCTIONS|| Access Codes • Security Locations • Security Terminology • Starship Security Procedures|
Phaser Settings • Tactical Belt • Type-I Phaser • Type-II Phaser • Type-III Phaser
|NOTABLE LOCATIONS||Security Complex • Chief Security Officer's Office • Brig • Isolation Cell • Armory • Phaser Range • Weapons Locker|
|PERSONNEL FUNCTIONS||Alert Status • Cabin Assignments • Computer Access Levels • Deck Listing • Department Head • Duty Roster • Operating Modes • Security Clearances • Starfleet Rank Guide • Uniforms|
|DEPARTMENTS|| Command • Flight Control • Intelligence • Operations • Engineering|
Security/Tactical • Medical • Science • Squadron • Civilians