Beirut Explosion, so what was it?

NSP

LE
I can still remember AN from school chemistry lessons, it is a very effective oxidiser. When a very small amount was heated in a test tube over a Bunsen burner it just rapidly decomposed. The resulting oxygen caused a smouldering match to re-ignite almost explosively.
As to welding, there was a disastrous fire in Düsseldorf Airport in the 90s caused by gash welding procedures.
The station armoury in Wildenrath burned down in September 1990, also due to gash welding procedures.
Could the fire in the AN have heated enough of it rapidly enough to yield sufficient oxygen to create an explosive atmosphere that then went bang and produced the required supersonic shock mentioned in a subsequent post to set the rest of it off?

Oxygen is often regarded as being the key to life but if you "soak" an environment in it can become explosive when ignited apparently. Breath it when subjected to an external pressure of 3bar or so and it becomes toxic, if I remember rightly.
 

HE117

LE
I've got more than a couple of 600 kg bags gone rock hard at present...

I can assure folk that dropping it 5 mts. off telehandlers ,running over it with diggers/ tractors and generally abusing it till the bags split does in no way make anything unstable except the fella who's shelled out a grand or two for the stuff!
( The bags burn excellently in the woodburner however)

Watching the footage, there is definitely something 'pinging around ' at the base of the fire prior to the big bang....
Can you differentiate fireworks from small scale ammunition in such circumstances?
"Fireworks" are normally low explosive and deflagrate rather than detonate. There are some fireworks mixtures which will detonate under certain circumstances, but most fireworks are not designed to.

Ammunition broken down into four categories:

Division 1 - Liable to detonate en-mass. Typically bulk explosive, High capacity munitions such as mines, bombs and large shell.

Division 2 - Items which will burn and detonate sporadically, and throw out burning or live items. Mortar ammunition, grenades, rockets, missiles etc.

Division 3 - Items which will burn with great violence - Propelling charges, flares, pyrotechnics.

Division 4 - Safety class ammunition with a very low explosive content most of which will be contained within its packaging if involved in a fire. Small arms Ammunition, Tracer Shot, APFSDS

The risk is if you mix Div 3 or Div 2 with Div 1 and it high orders, it can all behave like Div 1!
 
absolutely not from what I've seen however, on some of the vids (I'll have to review them again) I was puzzled by the sound of periodic small bangs - don't know if it's connected.
Applying a bit of lateral thinking...

Could the "blasts" be the reports from percussive piling? Videos indicate a fair bit of construction work going on. If so, just a coincident noise/vibration.

I had considered piles striking and detonating unexploded munitions from 1982 but that wouldn't tie in with the fire that preceded the big bang.


ETA
Looking at the seismologic print-out, it appears that the small bangs continue after the big blast. That alone should indicate that the smaller vibrations are coincidental - and originate from somewhere else.
 
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Could the fire in the AN have heated enough of it rapidly enough to yield sufficient oxygen to create an explosive atmosphere that then went bang and produced the required supersonic shock mentioned in a subsequent post to set the rest of it off?

Oxygen is often regarded as being the key to life but if you "soak" an environment in it can become explosive when ignited apparently. Breath it when subjected to an external pressure of 3bar or so and it becomes toxic, if I remember rightly.
There was at least one video posted earlier in this thread which discussed a major ammonium nitrate explosion at a storage facility in the US. The ammonium nitrate was stored in large open wooden bins There was a large amount of flammable material stored in an adjacent part of the building. The building itself had a lot of wood in its structure.

A fire started in the flammable material. Eventually the fire grew large and hot enough to breach the doors or wall separating the two parts of the building. A lot of soot was deposited on the surface of the ammonium nitrate. That soot absorbed radiant heat and increased the temperature of the ammonium nitrate in turn. Eventually, the combination of heat and contact with organic material, the soot and the wooden walls of the bins, was enough to set off part of the ammonium nitrate. The energy of that explosion then touched off the rest of the ammonium nitrate, causing a massive explosion.

The storage facility was close to homes, retirement residences, and schools. The storage facility had been built out in the countryside, but the lack of zoning by laws in that part of the US meant that urban development grew out adjacent to it. As a result there were numerous deaths and injuries.

This American incident involving ammonium nitrate is strikingly similar to the one in Beirut although it was on a smaller scale. Given what happened in the US, I don't see why a fire involving fireworks couldn't produce a similar effect in Beirut.

If you look back through the thread you may be able to find the video which describes the American explosion in detail. It was a video made by the authorities as result of the accident investigation, not just a news story.
 
From your link:
"The founder of the Tamar group, Boaz Hayoun, told Israel Defense that "We still don't know what exactly caused the initial explosions, whether sabotage or a malfunction. Hezbollah has to provide the answer to that question."
Of course Hizbollah will provide a detailed and factual explanation as soon as possible.
1597391724226.png
 
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Oops

War Hero

I became bored last night after A level dramas subsided, and the cricket highlight finished.

Nowt exactly earth shattering....
( Not the wisest of phrases)..

The N Korean explosion seems to be the only one with other ammunition/ explosives involved.

Oil, electricity, and heat, or a combination thereof, seem to be enough to have caused some tragic loss of lives.
 
Applying a bit of lateral thinking...

Could the "blasts" be the reports from percussive piling? Videos indicate a fair bit of construction work going on. If so, just a coincident noise/vibration.

I had considered piles striking and detonating unexploded munitions from 1982 but that wouldn't tie in with the fire that preceded the big bang.


ETA
Looking at the seismologic print-out, it appears that the small bangs continue after the big blast. That alone should indicate that the smaller vibrations are coincidental - and originate from somewhere else.
I spent two years in the Middle East making bangs and one in England interpreting seismograms.

I think you are correct.

That was my first thought on looking at that seismogram. Regular pulses pre- and post-explosion.

In seismology the external effect of man made vibrations is called cultural noise (sometimes cultural anomalies). There can also be natural phenomena effects such as wind and waves. Human noise was not much of a problem in the desert but it has a major impact in populated areas.

Railways are a big problem but that does not look like it was caused by a train. Pile driving would be a very good candidate. Large presses in factories would be another. In fact anything that make a regular bang would do. It doesn't take much - a lot of early geophysical research was done by hitting the ground with a shovel to create vibration.

I think someone might have an agenda.
 
From non other than a founder of Hezbollah

Is this somebody who fancies a come back, or is he merely trying to sound important?
Mind you it seems like he does have a valid point.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
The Pinto came up in a business management course once.

The primary question for discussion was the ethical one - knowing the car failed should Ford make a minor change or do a CBA to estimate the additional cost against likely payouts (given the extra cost would apply to every Pinto but any payouts might only apply to a small percentage of them).

My friend cracked me up when he said the even bigger question was "what c*nt would buy such a piece of f*cking s*it".
[/thread drift]

yeah....the Ford Pinto is/was (?) used on Risk Management courses as an example of how sometimes dumb management and nonsensical accounting can override plain common sense.

But if there was anyone on the Project Board who took responsibility for the Risk management of the Pinto they failed dismally in making their case heard.

The financial impact on Ford was huge - and their star golden boy CEO Lee Iacocca was fired.

Ford 100: Defective Pinto almost took Ford's reputation with it :

" What caught the public's eye in the Pinto cases was the disclosure that Ford found it cheaper to pay off the families of the victims of Pinto fires than the $137 million it would cost to fix the Pinto immediately, according to an internal Ford memo introduced during a civil trial. That meant it was not cost-effective to do the repairs.

There is no way of knowing how much Ford paid in Pinto suits because some were settled quietly out of court. "
 
Thank you @putteesinmyhands and @Tedsson for checking and clarifications. The way that article assumes the seismic indications were caused by "explosions" and the way it cites an "underground city" at that location...… seems dubious.
Further grist to the "external factor" mill is looking at the spacing of the cultural noise

This is just cobbled together in thirty seconds but if you look at the spacing of the pulses they are perfectly spread out and the continue after the big blast. You can also just about make a few out just before and after the big bang. My guess would be that if you looked at the data to the left and right of the horizontal axis they would probably extend a long way.
seismogram.jpg

I have no doubt they are unconnected to the blast and really are just noise. A seismologist would attenuate the equipment to cancel these out (if he knew there was a regular source of nearby vibration). If you knew where they were recorded you could Google likely sources but I have no idea.

The article also makes the error of assuming the regular bursts are comparable to the big blast. They might just be a lot closer to the seismograph/geophone (or other recording instrument). The inverse square law is one of the ways you estimate the magnitude of a tremor - Father Ted got it right with "small or far away".
 

4(T)

LE

Re: the "crater is bigger than predicted" point, I was wondering whether that area of the port was - like so many others - constructed of a concrete slab atop a series of piles?

If so, then all that has happened is that the slab has collapsed over a wide area - wider than would have been the case with the explosion carving out solid ground.
 
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Last word on this subject before getting back to the conspiracy theories, Jewish/Illuminati guided missiles, perfectly spaced out explosions every 11 seconds etc.

Just to show (a) sensitivity and (b) the problems with identifying noise in seismic signals and (c) you don't need a big explosion or earthquake to generate them:

Euler wandered into the field of seismic noise in 2007 when he found consistent spikes in noise from one of 32 different seismic stations in Cameroon. The spikes turned out to correspond with joyous, celebratory foot-stomping of Cameroon’s avid soccer fans at various cities after goals were scored or key plays made during the African Cup of Nations games in 2006.
This was the first time widespread anthropogenic noise — created by humans — had been found in seismic signals. And it was the first known reporting of “footquakes.”
“When I got that data, I was stumped, because there hadn’t been any earthquakes recorded during that time,” he says. "We finally put two and two together and saw this as the result of thousands of fans spread out over many miles, reacting to things ranging from a goal, to the reaction of a star player, to the ultimate, a win. There were slight fluctuations in all the scenarios. That was the start of my interest in seismic noise. It’s grown a lot since.

The seismic recorders nowadays are about a thousand times more sensitive than they were in my day. Maybe millions of times more so with the gravity wave detector.
 

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