Without smoke drawing these witnesses, we would not have such ample cell phone footage, but there also might have been fewer injuries. 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. 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 people and injuring around 5,000 more. I traced one of the Beirut videos posted by, 6 million-pound Halifax explosion of 1917. Walid Assi was cooking at a Beirut pizza joint on Tuesday night when a huge blast wave pushed him down. “There is no bread or flour crisis,” he said. So, Beirut was at minimum a thousand times more boom than Oklahoma City. It’s not yet clear what caused the blast. Governments worldwide have offered support, including the UK, France, Australia, the US, Canada and Israel. It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation. Buckland treated casualties following a natural gas explosion in Durham, North Carolina, in 2019 which, while substantially smaller in size, occurred in a densely populated downtown area. The more mundane explosions are rarely this size, but the same principles of physics and chemistry apply. 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. 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. He says as sunlight bounces around within the cloud of contaminants, other, less determined wavelengths get refracted off in different directions. In Beirut, thankfully, while building damage has been reported up to 5.6 miles away, because the low-explosive ammonium nitrate made a pressure wave rather than a shock wave, the fatality estimates so far are still in the hundreds, even though the charge size was likely larger than the bomb in Halifax. 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. 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. ... shock wave and the mushroom cloud. Lebanese rescue workers searched for survivors in the mangled wreckage of buildings and investigators blamed negligence for a massive warehouse explosion that sent a … The breakthroughs and innovations that we uncover lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries. 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. 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. But a shock wave could have caused them to drop dead from lung trauma as they watched. The blast rattled buildings on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, about 100 miles (160 km) away. Ammonium nitrate is … The scale of the damage is huge, with buildings miles from the port lying in ruin. WIRED is where tomorrow is realized. Now, details of the blast that started in a fireworks storage area by a small storage building at the end of a Beirut pier trickle in as the world waits to hear what the final death, injury, and destruction tallies will be. A string of explosions Seismological data suggests that six blasts … An Australian citizen and an employee at the German embassy in Beirut have been confirmed among the dead. 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. 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. 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. 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. A small blast can look subtle and orange-ish, but on a large scale like at Beirut, the sunlight helps deepen its hue. All rights reserved. The key to increasing the number of survivors, Buckland says, is getting the third wave of patients through the door, through the crowds of this second wave. The explosion was so powerful that all the buildings in the city’s business district and even the airport, which is in a different part of the city, were damaged by the blast wave. It’s a pressure wave, and that key difference affects the number of casualties expected. The blast comes at a terrible time for Lebanon, which is on the brink of financial collapse. 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. Analysis of the aerial photographs of the pier shows a crater in the range of 120 to 140 meters in diameter; blast physics mixed with history tell us that to carve a chunk that size from the side of the planet requires a charge equivalent to 1.7 to 5.4 million kilograms of TNT (that’s 3.8 to 11.8 million pounds for any Americans dragging their feet on converting to metric). Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut. Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. No, it’s not a shock wave. 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. However, in a way, the world already has some idea what to expect, because similar blasts have occurred before. 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. That’s slow for a bomb. 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