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Beirut Port Explosion

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fredymac

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Mighty big boom. Almost as impressive as the Tianjin port explosions. Not sure of the cause so far.


 

fredymac

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Another video from really close up. Lots of small explosions going on before the big bang lets go.


 

stealthflanker

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Those small explosives reminds me of Mexico fireworks factory explosion. There could be some stockpiled... maybe. About 1-2 km from port there is Tabarra fireworks factory.

The big explosion however is kind of mystery.

I tried to geolocate where that video was taken and my findings so far it's about 600 m from the explosion. From there i tried to approximate the speed of blast wave from the distance and the arrival of the blast (which i taken to be when the person duck) and it's about Mach 1.8. The overpressure is about 1 PSI (shattered glass, dust) At that distance. The yield of the explosion is approximated to be about 10 Ton of TNT equivalent.

That's a huge amount of boom there.

Correction. It should be 10 metric tonne. not 100. Apologize.
 

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TomcatViP

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The last shot (taken from a small boat in the second video of this thread) would suggest an explosion at sea (or slightly under sea) level.
Ship?
 

Archibald

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The irony would be, if those explosives had been confiscated from terrorist SOBs (Hezbollah). You guess, the SOBs would evidently rejoice... (hey, those explosives were not "lost" in the end).
 

TomS

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Word on the street is that the big explosion is a stockpile of sodium nitrate (explosive precursor) that was confiscated off a Russian ship a year or more ago and stored in the port. The initial problem was some sort of fire (possibly electrical) that set off stored fireworks, which in turn triggered the NaNO3.
 

Orionblamblam

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ANFO seems to have a slightly reddish smoke, while sodium nitrate looks pretty whitish. Whatever went off in Beirut had a distinctly reddish smoke. Of course it's possible that the explosion simply tosswed a few hundred tons of reddish dust/dirt/powder into the air. The smoke produced *before* the explosion was white/gray, so it may be that the red stuff was an inert bystander.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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An impressive Wilson cloud, quite similar to the “Sailors Hat” 500t TNT tests;- Probably gives a ball park as the quantities involved.
 

DWG

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Reports in the Guardian say 2,700t of Ammonium Nitrate. And they've picked up a tweet from an economist saying that 90% of the country's grain supply flows through the now-wrecked silo visible in some of the shots just to the side of the explosion.
 

stealthflanker

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Reports in the Guardian say 2,700t of Ammonium Nitrate. And they've picked up a tweet from an economist saying that 90% of the country's grain supply flows through the now-wrecked silo visible in some of the shots just to the side of the explosion.

Ugh.. that's ugly. Hopefully should there be needs to import or deliver grain.. it could be done elsewhere... Maybe trucking it from Syria or Israel. Tho the former is more likely.

That 2700t is roughly equal to 1134t of TNT... the overpressure could be felt in 6 km.
 

Orionblamblam

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Reports in the Guardian say 2,700t of Ammonium Nitrate. And they've picked up a tweet from an economist saying that 90% of the country's grain supply flows through the now-wrecked silo visible in some of the shots just to the side of the explosion.

I wonder if the red cloud is *grain* of some kind.

In which case, the story can be spun as "mostly peaceful chemical reaction redistributes grain free to local residents."
 

TomS

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I wonder if the red cloud is *grain* of some kind.

In which case, the story can be spun as "mostly peaceful chemical reaction redistributes grain free to local residents."

Seriously? After an explosion killing probably hundreds of people? Too soon for jokes like this (if they are ever really appropriate).

Besides which, it seems confirmed that it was AN, which matches the red smoke. This is the ship from which the AN was apparently seized six years ago. That's a long time to keep AN in a warehouse.
 

Orionblamblam

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I wonder if the red cloud is *grain* of some kind.

In which case, the story can be spun as "mostly peaceful chemical reaction redistributes grain free to local residents."

Seriously? After an explosion killing probably hundreds of people? Too soon for jokes like this (if they are ever really appropriate).

Weren't no joke, son.

Besides which, it seems confirmed that it was AN, which matches the red smoke.

The smoke *seems* distinctly redder than most AN explosions I've seen. Dunno, perhaps a chemical contaminant, the effect of being an *old* supply of AN, improperly manufactured... shrug.
 

Orionblamblam

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Weren't no joke, son

Wasn't reality. No one is going to claim this was anything but a disaster.

Don;t bet on it. Expect the "crisis actor" nutjobs to start claiming that this is all CGI or some damnfool thing. And this being Beirut, expect there to be a *lot* of people who believe this wasn't so much a "disaster" as "an intentional attack." The world is a wacky place and getting more so, seemingly.
 

fredymac

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For comparison, this is the explosion following a Saudi attack on a Houthi missile storage site. The "sparkles" seen in the fireball are interesting.

 

Dilandu

I'm dissatisfied, which means, I exist.
Ammonum nitrate. That's basically all that needed to be said. This stuff IS dangerous if handled unproperly.
 

Dilandu

I'm dissatisfied, which means, I exist.
They were incredibly lucky to have that grain silo exactly at this spot. It absorbed most of blast energy aimed inland, covering the city.
 

TomS

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They were incredibly lucky to have that grain silo exactly at this spot.

Rare indeed is the expression of relief that there was a grain silo in proximity to an explosion.
Can explode too indeed. I read the news that it was a double explosion there in Beirut.

That was an early thought, that there as a grain dust explosion. But that was before people realized there were thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate involved.
 

Archibald

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I checked stats of AZF Toulouse disaster - very similar ammonium nitrate massive kaboom. Except there was "only" 400 mt of the stuff. Still the explosion sound was heard 50 miles away and a 20 ft deep by 200 ft wide crater was created. 31 people died.

Now that lebanese warehouse had 7 times more stuff. No surprise the explosion was HUGE.




Dang. Up to 3000 mt of ammonium nitrate instantly put that detonation on top of the non-nuclear ones.

Right between Halifax and 1947 Texas city disaster - which detonated 2000 mt of the same stuff.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_City_disaster
 
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galgot

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The crater in front of the silo :


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKFbhO2CXUY
 

Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
A lot of grieving people out there, a tragic event and I hope people learn from it. I somehow doubt it.
 

Archibald

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OMFG - I wondered what had happened to the big building near the explosion epicenter. Whether it was launched to the Moon or Jupiter. It is pretty amazing, half of it is still standing.
 

galgot

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OMFG - I wondered what had happened to the big building near the explosion epicenter. Whether it was launched to the Moon or Jupiter. It is pretty amazing, half of it is still standing.
That's the grain silo. The grain filled "tubes" facing the explosion must have absorbed enough of the blast for the rest of the thing to stand still.
Indeed a lot of grain must have been blown up the air.
 
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martinbayer

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Archibald

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TomcatViP

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The ammonium nitrate was confiscated from a Russian-owned, Moldovan-flagged cargo ship—the Rhosus—in September 2013 when the tanker docked in Beirut after experiencing technical difficulties. The Rhosus had been on its way from Georgia to Mozambique, according to the ship-tracking website Fleetmon.

Lawyers at the Beirut-based Baroudi Legal firm represented the boat's Russian and Ukrainian crewmembers, who were stranded on the ship after it docked. Lebanese officials prevented the vessel from sailing elsewhere and it was eventually abandoned by its crew and its owners. The explosive cargo was then moved to Hanger 12, which sat close to the country's main north-south highway.

The years following saw multiple efforts to address the dangerous cargo. In 2014, then-director of Lebanese Customs Shafik Merhi wrote to an unnamed "Urgent Matters judge" seeking a solution. Customs officials sent at least five more letters over the next three years, Al Jazeera reported, asking for the ammonium nitrate to be addressed.

Proposed solutions included exporting the material, handing it to the Lebanese army or selling it to a Lebanese explosives company. A 2016 letter noted that officials had received no reply from judges.

"In view of the serious danger of keeping these goods in the hangar in unsuitable climatic conditions, we reaffirm our request to please request the marine agency to re-export these goods immediately to preserve the safety of the port and those working in it, or to look into agreeing to sell this amount," the letter read. It too received no reply.

In 2017, Lebanese Customs Administration director Badri Daher started his tenure by writing to a judge again about the ammonium nitrate. He stressed the "the danger ... of leaving these goods in the place they are, and to those working there."

 
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