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Wed Aug 5, 2020, 02:59 PM

2750 Tons of Explosives (and fertilizer) in One Location

Naturally, conspiracy theories would abound.

Why would such a huge amount of explosives be stored in only one place?

It was no surprise that the first person to come forward with his opinion that it was an attack was Donald Trump. Who told him? Why would he make such a dangerous statement?

The first impulse in the Middle East is to blame Israel. In turn, some would say that it was a storage compound for truck bombs across the area. The ship that unloaded the last shipment was reportedly Russian.

There are enough conspiracy theories to go around.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply 2750 Tons of Explosives (and fertilizer) in One Location (Original post)
kentuck Aug 5 OP
marble falls Aug 5 #1
soothsayer Aug 5 #2
OAITW r.2.0 Aug 5 #3
soothsayer Aug 5 #5
LiberalArkie Aug 5 #6
LiberalArkie Aug 5 #4
soothsayer Aug 5 #7
LiberalArkie Aug 5 #11
ProfessorGAC Aug 5 #10
soothsayer Aug 5 #12
ProfessorGAC Aug 5 #14
Amishman Aug 5 #8
BGBD Aug 5 #9
ProfessorGAC Aug 5 #16
BGBD Aug 5 #17
ProfessorGAC Aug 6 #18
North Shore Chicago Aug 6 #19
TheBlackAdder Aug 5 #13
ProfessorGAC Aug 5 #15

Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:06 PM

1. Its been there since 2014.

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:19 PM

3. On another thread, a DUer commented that Russia Today suggested it was a terror attack.

I assume RT is a daily "must read" for DJT. It's how Putin communicates with his puppet.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:21 PM

5. Yeah i saw that. Trump heard it from RUSSIAN generals

What an effing traitor

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:22 PM

6. It is really a must read to see how their thinking is.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:21 PM

4. If they had not kept it sealed it would not have exploded.

And why did not not use it in their agri?

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Response to LiberalArkie (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:22 PM

7. Weren't they in the process of welding a door shut?

That was the latest I saw.

To prevent trespassing or theft.

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:44 PM

11. That would surely do it..

As a kid Monsanto had a huge Ammonia Nitrate plant about 7 miles away. You just pick up the stuff.

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Response to LiberalArkie (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:35 PM

10. A Couple Answers

1. Sealing it doesn't matter either way.
2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate will release energy nearly identical to smokeless powder, but at nearly 100 times the velocity.
5.5 million pounds of ammonium nitrate will detonate with about the force of 600,000 pounds of TNT. That's a third of a kiloton!
It's a powder, so sealed or not, the energy is still going to blow the building to bits and the shock wave will for nealy a mile.
Could it have been stored in a blast bunker, so if it detonated the wave would go straight up? You bet! That's what they should have done.
2. They didn't have it for agriculture. They confiscated it off a Russian ship in 2014. It was contraband, and wasn't intended for use in Lebanon.
Should it have sat there for 6 years? Obviously not. They weren't storing it properly, the whole time!
Not sure how the fire that set this stuff off got started. But, this stuff should have stored in a structure that cannot burn.
Like a concrete blast bunker, maybe?

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #10)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:59 PM

12. Welding, they said

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #12)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 04:29 PM

14. Thanks!

I hadn't heard about the welding.
Which of course suggests that did welding, without a water curtain in the vicinity of 0.3 kilotons of high explosives!
Unbrilliant.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:29 PM

8. it was all fertilizer

which also is explosive.

ammonium nitrate is fairly hard to set off, you have to get it very hot first. This is why when used as an explosive its usually soaked in oil.

For this to happen, they had to ignore all safety precautions with storage, have no sprinkler or fire suppression system, and also do a very poor job fighting the fire once it was started.

This disaster has to be the biggest tragic comedy of errors since Trump's election.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:35 PM

9. It probably sat there

Because they didn't know what else to do with it or it just wasn't a priority. out of the sight, out of mind.

AN absorbs moisture at higher humidity levels. As it does it forms into a solid mass and eventually a liquid. As this happens it becomes more and more unstable.

Six years sitting oceanside and this stuff was probably completely solid. It would have been nearly impossible to move at that point without some significant engineering work, and very dangerous.

The mistake was made in 2014 when they decided to offload the ship. I believe it may have been damaged in some way, but even if it is it should have been towed to somewhere capable of handing that payload. Perhaps Turkey could have handled it better. At the very lease load it directly onto railcars and send it inland to a low populated area.

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Response to BGBD (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 05:39 PM

16. Not My Experience

The liquid form of AmNO gets that way by absorbing water.
This puts it into a high concentration phase that is a combination of soluble salts, and liquid crystals.
The less stressed crystal structure lowers overall bond energy per unit volume (simpler solid phase) and lower energy per mass because of the added mass of the water.
The liquid phase is not less stable, because it's at a lower physical chemical state.
Also, it's typically sold in bulk in sealed "supersaks".
It would be easy to keep the air inside the bag below the critical humidity of 59-60%.
It's the reason why ANFO is so stable.
The separation of crystal structures in the slurry makes it much safer to work with.
ANFO can be burned! I've done it.
But, introduce a shock wave from a blasting cap & BOOM! They use it by the truckload in quarries. Really impressive to see!
The solid form of ammonium nitrate is actually the most dangerous form.
The SDS mentions nothing in the "Reactivity & Stability" section about increased danger when wet. For good reason.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 09:24 PM

17. If

this was sitting oceanside for 6 years in a building that I'm going to assume didn't have many environmental controls, do you think it would have been a solid?

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Response to BGBD (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 06:53 AM

18. Maybe, Yes

I am making the assumption these were either supersaks or 25kg bags. (AmNO is readily available both ways.)
The both forms have an internal plastic liner, that should do a pretty good job as a moisture barrier. Of course, I don't recall ever seeing powder or crystalline goods sitting in inventory for 6 years! So, that's a substantial variable.
It's seaside, but warm, and the hygroscopic state of AmNO requires a relative humidity of 59.6 or 59.8% to hydrate. That's pretty high humidity given sea breezes. Of course, this was inside, so maybe it could get that high.
BTW: The solid isn't more dangerous from an explosive stability standpoint. However, since the material is shock sensitive, it becomes more dangerous to work with! Breaking up big chunks carries some risk because enough mechanical force could break enough of the lattice and release energy sufficient to initiate decomposition. The decomposition is what we otherwise call an explosion!
Generally, in industry, they do not recover solidified AmNO. They place the blocks in water, redissolve into a solution near the saturation point and redry to the powder. To dangerous to try to grind it back to a powder.
We didn't even store 500g jars of the stuff on any shelf near ANYTHING that could burn or undergo exothermic reactions. Basically, we stored it next to silica or alumina gel, or simple salts like sodium chloride or sulfate.
It's dangerously stupid to do what they did.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #18)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 08:44 AM

19. Thank you for being so generous with your information!

I, as well as others really appreciate it!

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 04:23 PM

13. Texas City Explosion comes to mind.

.







.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #13)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 04:30 PM

15. They Found Parts Of The Ship...

...more than halfway to Galveston.
IIRC, about 6 miles from the blast.

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