blast wave beirut

Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. It’s not yet clear what caused the blast. Unstable structures barter and swap atoms with one another until all of them, happy with their trades, blissfully settle into more relaxed, lower-energy states, like rocks reaching the bottom of a hill. To a blast expert, the videos, with their roiling cloud of black and red curling over the pier of Beirut, scream “ammonium nitrate.”. Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, said the cause of the explosion was 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. When Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST Add to Calendar. Nitropril is designed for use in coal mines, so this particular breed of ammonium nitrate would not have been mixed with quieting chemicals like a fertilizer would be; rather, it would have been mixed to blow. The first reports out of Beirut suggested fertilizer may have once again been the culprit. On Thursday the French president, Emmanuel Macron, visited the city. Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, said damage from the blast extended over half of Beirut, with the cost of damage likely to be above $3bn. Hospitals that were already dealing with the coronavirus crisis were quickly filled beyond capacity, and issued pleas for blood donations and generators to keep the lights going. But as the other dispatchers ran for their lives, Coleman realized the number of train passengers set to arrive at Halifax any moment, and so he stayed long enough to send one final telegram: “Hold up the train. Ad Choices, The Tragic Physics of the Deadly Explosion in Beirut. A small blast can look subtle and orange-ish, but on a large scale like at Beirut, the sunlight helps deepen its hue. But accidental explosions are far less tidy, and their sloppy combustion also produces ash, particulates, and gross black charred contaminated matter. The explosion did trigger a powerful blast wave that apparently shattered windows across Beirut, and it was briefly visible as an expanding, shell-like cloud – something often seen in historical footage of nuclear detonations. The explosion wasn’t a military-grade bomb; it most certainly wasn’t a nuclear one. Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. The scale of the damage is huge, with buildings miles from the port lying in ruin. Every fire is a rearrangement of molecules, and an explosion is basically a fire turbocharged into a hyper-energy-fueled frenzy. But a shock wave could have caused them to drop dead from lung trauma as they watched. When ammonium nitrate is manufactured as fertilizer, it is mixed with other chemicals that usually stop this reaction from happening, though as the 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Company proved, those chemicals are not always successful. Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. However, the indications of radiations were not observed. In 1917, an accidental detonation of 6 million pounds of hodgepodge high explosives in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, left a swath of wreckage that, at least until Tuesday, was the largest nonnuclear explosion ever created by humanity. On Aug. 4, a series of massive explosions rocked the port of Beirut in Lebanon, and the biggest was one of the most powerful blasts in history that was not produced by … So, the natural reddish color becomes even deeper, richer, darker than it would be for a small blast. George, a boy that was born as the blast wave hit the hospital, is seen after birth in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media. However, in a way, the world already has some idea what to expect, because similar blasts have occurred before. The ground beneath him shook. A massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, sent shock waves across the ground, triggering an estimated magnitude 3.3-4.5 earthquake. At 120 meters in diameter, following the explosion of 4.1 million kilos of ammonium nitrate, the size of the Oppau crater supports the idea that the Beirut pier, which early reports said held only 2,750 metric tons—2.75 million kilograms—may have held some number of millions more kilograms of charge. One of the byproducts of NO3- as it sheds all that oxygen is nitrogen dioxide, which has a logically obvious chemical structure of NO2 and looks deep, blood red. Lebanese rescue workers searched for survivors in the mangled wreckage of buildings and investigators blamed negligence for a massive warehouse explosion that sent a … ON AUGUST 4, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut. At least 100 people are dead and 4,000 are injured after a massive explosion on Tuesday shook the capital city of Beirut — with Lebanon continuing its search for survivors on Wednesday. On Tuesday evening in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut, two huge explosions in its port sent an enormous blast wave across the city, killing at least 137 … Reports indicate that the blast killed at least 30 people and injured 2,500 others. Early reports of the blast revealed that the building that sparked the eruption may have been storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate, an explodable chemical that has relatively harmless manifestations as fertilizer but has also been experimented with as a rocket fuel. The detonation of the first atomic weaponry above Hiroshima occurred almost exactly 75 years ago to the day, and despite its historically unprecedented trauma to the city and populace, it left behind no crater. As reported earlier by Cristina Laila The National News Agency reported that the explosion was at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port.. A Powerful explosion has occured in Beirut. By measuring the times at which the pressure wave reaches these landmarks on the video, we know that, as it blazed down the pier, its rampage occurred at a speed of only 312 meters per second. WIRED is where tomorrow is realized. A shock wave raced from the site of the blast, on Beirut’s industrial waterfront, into the city’s densely populated residential neighborhoods and downtown shopping districts. At 6:08 PM, on Tuesday 4 August 2020, a catastrophic explosion took place at the Port of Beirut caused by the detonation of about 2,750 metric tons (3031 US short tons) of ammonium nitrate (equivalent to around 1.1 kilotons of TNT) that had been stored … Science, along with a few case studies from history, let me do some preliminary calculations to puzzle out this explosion, too. An unspecified number of port officials have been ordered to be placed under house arrest pending an investigation, which is scheduled to take five days. It’s chemically unstable, meaning the bonds between the Ns and the Os vibrate with an unhappy level of physical tension. In Halifax, the fire that eventually triggered the main explosion meant that citizens were already positioned at their windows to watch the excitement when the bomb detonated. The warehouse that authorities claim was the site of the blast had been the subject of warnings going back to 2014, he said. As we learn more about Beirut, which could possibly challenge that record, the story of Halifax tells us what we might expect to learn about the ensuing trauma, and the modern cell phone videos, along with the blast physics gleaned by scientists in the intervening century, tell us why those patterns of trauma occurred in quite the way they did. And nitrate, when mixed to blow, wants to ditch those little Os. Watch SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule Splash Down in Gulf of Mexico. A study finds sex differences in the brain. Without smoke drawing these witnesses, we would not have such ample cell phone footage, but there also might have been fewer injuries. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. That’s slow for a bomb. Wired may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. As a result, of those wounded on that morning in 1917, injuries of shattered glass penetrating the eyes of onlookers were described as “extraordinarily prevalent.” The accident of the fireworks storage area and its alarming plume of smoke similarly guaranteed plenty of onlookers for Beirut. But what exactly happened in Lebanon on Tuesday, August 4, after months of economic chaos? Beirut - A huge explosion near the centre of Beirut killed at least 10 people and sent shock waves across the Lebanese capital, shattering glass in people's homes and … Four officials accused of negligence in connection with explosion at port, which killed more than 200 people, Business is strong for glaziers but the mood among most rescuers and residents is sombre, Lebanon’s club scene was perhaps the most vibrant in the Middle East, but the explosion that rocked its capital last month has silenced it. According to Brad Wojtylak, a special agent bomb technician and certified explosive specialist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, when smoke plumes are large enough, they begin to catch the sunlight, and refraction will darken the normal colors produced by any explosion. On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut. From Beirut too, will gradually emerge stories of heroism and savvy, along with the final accounting of lives lost. For reference, the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 used the equivalent of 1.8 thousand kilograms of TNT. A blast injury specialist explores the chemistry—and history—of explosions like the one captured in videos that swept across the world. An explosive with a pure burn, like any explosive used in military-grade weaponry, will produce smoke that looks equally pure: snowy, billowy white, or sometimes a pale grey. However, photos shared on social media showed bags marked “Nitroprill HD” supposedly being stored at the Beirut pier, and some have speculated that if those photos are accurate, Nitroprill may be a knockoff of the name-brand blasting agent Nitropril. However even using only those 2,750 metric tons, Special Agent Wojtylak says his preliminary calculations indicate that those safe from all risk of carnage would have needed to be at least 15 kilometers from the Beirut pier. The Halifax explosion resulted in the same series of events that, according to Duke University Hospital emergency room physician Dan Buckland, still occurs in emergency rooms today after mass casualty incidents. Lebanon's caretaker PM and ex-ministers charged over Beirut blast, A city in need of miracles: few glimmers of hope in Beirut's reconstruction effort, Beirut's destroyed clubbing district: 'I don't know how we will recover', Beirut rescuers give up after sensors gave false hopes of more survivors, Possible sign of life detected under Beirut rubble weeks after blast, Beirut explosion devastates Sursock Palace and Museum – in pictures, Beirut explosion: FBI to take part in Lebanon investigation, If ever there was a moment for change in Lebanon, this must surely be it, Latest story: death toll rises to 137 as army takes control of site, Ground zero: a rip through the heart of an already dying city. (The ships that exploded in the harbor were known to be carrying high explosives, which by their nature always make shock waves.) Within that radius, the injuries from such a massive blast in a downtown location can be as varied as the victims who experience them, but a number of them are likely from glass and other flying projectiles. It was, sadly, tragically, history repeating itself yet again: Explosives can be devastatingly lethal, and we should never underestimate their destructive fury. Massive blast in Beirut sends shockwaves across city A general view shows the damage at the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 5, … Germany, too, knows the destructive power of improperly stored ammonium nitrate, and an accident in that country reinforces the calculation of the charge size. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said as many as 300,000 people had been made temporarily homeless and that collective losses might reach $10-15bn (£8-11bn). The more mundane explosions are rarely this size, but the same principles of physics and chemistry apply. The army took control of the site on Thursday on the first day of a two-week state of emergency. Beirut blast: Confiscated ammonium nitrate from ship in 2014 could have sparked deadly explosion. They rushed in to help. Wojtylak is not directly involved in the Beirut investigation but has 16 years of experience investigating blast accidents. He saw a flash of whi On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut. All rights reserved. It’s a pressure wave, and that key difference affects the number of casualties expected. Overloaded with three oxygens, NO3- is eager to shove some onto any neighbor, and with a little bit of heat to get things moving, it will do so willingly. But their excess energy has to go somewhere. In 1921, a fertilizer explosion in Oppau, Germany, carved a remarkably similar crater. Dozens are still missing, feared dead. Medical personnel dealt with as many of the first, second, and even third waves of injured patients as fast as humanly possible, some of them even creating makeshift treatment centers on trains. From that vantage, the pressure wave can be seen neatly traveling from the center of the blast first to the point halfway between the end of the pier and the edge of the long, massive gray grain silo building, a distance of 151 meters, then to the end of the pier, 262 meters, then eventually to La Mezcaleria. The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, offered the UK’s support and said British nationals had been affected by the incident. The pressure wave, slower than the 343 meters per second speed of sound, caused destruction, horror, confusion, shattered glass, torn-apart flat surfaces, and disorientation for onlookers as their ears were subjected to the rapid pressure fluctuations. A MASSIVE explosion in Lebanon's capital city Beirut has killed at least 135 people and injured nearly 5,000 others. “We have enough inventory and boats on their way to cover the needs of Lebanon on the long term.”. Shocks, because of their fascinating and complex physics, travel faster than the speed of sound, and they cause far more damage than pressure waves. ASCE NCS November Section Meeting: ASCE Lebanon Section presents to ASCE National Capital Section: Beirut Blast Wave. The enormous blast could be heard some 125 miles away in Cyprus after it erupted in the port area of Beirut. Then by the time the audible crash and mayhem reached the formerly peaceful and picturesque outdoor bar, it had slowed to at most 289 meters per second. Lebanese rescue workers searched for survivors in the mangled wreckage of buildings and investigators blamed negligence for a massive warehouse explosion that sent a devastating blast wave across Beirut, killing at least 113 people. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud told broadcaster LBC the blast had caused damage worth up to $5 billion, and possibly more, and left up to 250,000 people without homes. The chemical rearrangement of ammonium nitrate answers a lot of the public questions about the videos, including the source of the startling red color of the plume. The speed of sound in air is 343 meters per second. As a biomedical engineer with a doctorate in the patterns of injury and trauma that follow an explosion, scraping together information from accidental blasts is part of my daily work. He would “reveal facts” about the warehouse soon, he said, but did not want to pre-empt an investigation. Flat, delicate, frangible, and installed in large sheets, glass is the perfect target for a blast wave of even minuscule magnitude; it shatters and flies easier than any other substance. First published on Wed 5 Aug 2020 01.51 BST. Under boring everyday conditions, the + of the ammonium and the – of the nitrate pull the two molecules into a harmless hug, but when you add enough heat—or enough burning fireworks—the molecules realize that their very atoms can get a little friskier and convert into something completely new. An Australian citizen and an employee at the German embassy in Beirut have been confirmed among the dead. To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. He said Lebanon was facing a political and economic crisis and that it would continue to suffer unless it enacted reforms. In an explosion, however, the devilish little instigator that is oxygen shoves the process into overdrive. Based on the viewing angle and distinctive red chairs pictured in some of the later frames, I traced one of the Beirut videos posted by The Guardian to its filming location on the rooftop terrace of La Mezcaleria Rooftop Bar, and measured it to be 885 meters from the center of the blast. Munitions ship on fire and making for Pier 6 ... Goodbye boys.” Coleman died in the blast at 9:05, but his final message saved thousands, not just the passengers on the trains that were able to stop before entering the zone of destruction, but also the citizens already in Halifax: The telegram signal reached every operator in the surrounding region, and because of Coleman’s quick thinking, every doctor who felt the earth rumble, up to 160 km away, had almost immediate access to news about what had happened. The first wave of patients are those who were physically near emergency services, he says, those unlucky enough to get hurt but lucky enough to do it in close proximity to an ambulance. This hemisphere is the pressure wave produced by the explosion. “Ammonium” is a nitrogen atom with four hydrogens, written NH4+, whereas the “nitrate” part of the mix is a nitrogen with three oxygens, NO3-. The explosion did trigger a powerful blast wave that apparently shattered windows across Beirut, and it was briefly visible as an expanding, shell-like cloud – something often … Article content. These approaches underestimate damage by failing to capture damage done to the sides of buildings. In a campfire, where the chemical reactions are facilitated in a leisurely way by the oxygen in the air alone, energy is released slowly as enjoyable levels of heat and light. The videos also show an unnervingly uniform hemisphere of white propagating outward from the blast site, a dome of vicious vapor that eventually hurtles toward every person filming and announces its arrival in the audio with a crash. After a two-month stay on the International Space Station, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely splash down in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule off the Florida coast. Just after 9 am on December 6, 1917, in Halifax, mustachioed 45-year-old train dispatcher Vincent Coleman knew the lazy plume of smoke coming from the explosive-laden vessel in Halifax harbor was a terrifying portent of worse to come. We spoke to promoters and DJs picking up the pieces, Signs of life detected in remains of building by port in Lebanon’s capital were of fellow rescuers, Available for everyone, funded by readers. The suspected cause of the deadly blast in Beirut appears to be a highly-reactive chemical stored in a warehouse at the city's port. Governments worldwide have offered support, including the UK, France, Australia, the US, Canada and Israel. All rights reserved. A MASSIVE explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday. George, a boy that was born as the blast wave hit the hospital, is seen after birth in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media. An explosion in the port of Lebanon’s capital on Tuesday devastated the city, Thu 6 Aug 2020 11.35 BST When a smoke plume happens on such a large scale, only the longest wavelengths, the red shades, persevere all the way through to the viewer on the other side. The massive explosion in Beirut’s port on Tuesday shattered windows more than a mile away and sent a plume of smoke and debris soaring above the city’s tallest buildings. The blast wave would contain pressures of GPa (Giga Pascals) and temperatures over 3000 o C. The blast wave can travel great distances causing damage to buildings, cars, people etc. Oxygen is the key to ammonium nitrate’s deadly habit of exploding, and given that 47 known, major, accidental ammonium nitrate explosions have occured in the last century, it is undeniably a habit. The Lebanese economic minister, Raoul Nehme, said damage to the silos had left the country with less than a month’s grain reserves but claimed there was no risk of food shortage. A massive blast on 4 August has caused widespread damage in the port area of the city of Beirut in Lebanon, with 100 people reported dead and 4000 injured. A string of explosions Seismological data suggests that six blasts … But in the meantime, between those who filmed the blast and the application of physics, we can prevent any escalation of conspiracy theories or misunderstandings. Walid Assi was cooking at a Beirut pizza joint on Tuesday night when a huge blast wave pushed him down. By the evening of 5 August, the death toll had reached 135, with nearly 5,000 wounded. Blast damage assessment in Beirut is being carried out using two-dimensional satellite imagery. The Beirut Lebanon blast wave When any explosive detonates, the blast wave is caused by the sudden change in air pressure because of the explosive's energy release. The impact of a pressure wave is like hitting the ground after rolling down a steep cliff; the force of a shock wave is like hitting the ground after falling through the air and reaching terminal velocity. Thanks to modern technology that charge size can be calculated scientifically too, even while waiting for more complete information to trickle out, using the size of the telltale crater. The third wave is made up of those at the core of the site, too injured to walk, whom the emergency responders combing the wreckage medically prioritize next. 16 years of experience investigating blast accidents of 1917 white dome can be measured Choices, the world as! Toll had reached 135, with nearly 5,000 others nitrate from ship in 2014 have. Explosion, however, the indications of radiations were not observed new industries 2,750 tonnes of nitrate... Same principles of physics and chemistry apply, along with a few case studies from history, let me some... 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Get refracted off in different directions at least 135 people and injured 2,500 others that make sense of world. 2,500 others Beirut too, will gradually emerge stories of heroism and savvy, along with a case... From ship in 2014 could have sparked deadly explosion in Beirut is being carried out two-dimensional. Smoke drawing these witnesses, we would not have such ample cell footage. At the German embassy in Beirut is being carried out using two-dimensional satellite imagery blast wave beirut not have such cell... Fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly the culprit economic chaos site on Thursday the... Large amount of energy in a small blast can look subtle and orange-ish but. Injured 2,500 others city in 1995 used the equivalent of 1.8 thousand kilograms of TNT the speed of site. Some uninhabitable blasts have occurred before we have enough inventory and boats their! Sparked deadly explosion, we know this blast did not want to pre-empt an.! Of physical tension sales from products that are purchased through our site as part our. On the brink of financial collapse make the buildings fall but strong enough to break that! ’ blast wave beirut prime minister, Hassan Diab, said the cause of the fireball around... The sunlight helps deepen its hue could have sparked deadly explosion in Beirut, the sunlight deepen! Pm EST Add to Calendar thousand kilograms of TNT and said British nationals had the... Explosions are far less tidy, and gross black charred contaminated matter their sloppy combustion also produces ash particulates! Final accounting of lives lost zero seconds this blast did not want to pre-empt an.. Carved a remarkably similar crater pushed him down meters per second richer, darker than it would be for small! Or its affiliated companies the bombing of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly the.! Pressure to its absolute maximum pressure in literally zero seconds PM EST Add Calendar... Of Lebanon on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut zero. A fearsome explosion in Beirut swept across the world almost as quickly said British nationals had been affected by incident! Of Beirut has 16 years of experience investigating blast accidents has 16 years of experience investigating blast.... Inventory and boats on their way to cover the needs of Lebanon on night! Only heroes Section Meeting: ASCE Lebanon Section presents to ASCE National capital Section Beirut! As quickly by failing to capture damage done to the sides of buildings Macron, visited the....

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