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Old Posted Aug 8, 2020, 1:19 PM
terrynorthend terrynorthend is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post

I'm surprised that they are still saying there are only 150 casualties as I expected it to be in the thousands based on the videos.

Horrible situation, and totally unnecessary. Very poor management of the stored 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate!
There is an interesting article on Wired Science about this. It's possible the "charge strength" of Beirut is larger than Halifax, however the nature of the explosives is key.

Ammonium Nitrate can be very volatile especially if it's formulated for mining and not agricultural fertilizer. Videos of the warehouse prior showing the label Nitrophil suggest a mining application. That said, it's nowhere near as efficient as a military grade high-explosive, even in 1917.

In comparison the materials in Halifax were high-grade explosives. The difference as explained in the article was the over pressure created by the detonation. There are two types of blast wave, a pressure wave or a shock wave. A pressure wave doesn't move as fast and builds more slowly. A shock wave goes from 0 to Max almost instantly and moves hyper-sonically. The difference to people who are hit is akin to falling down a steep hill and rolling to a stop vs. falling from the high in the air and hitting flat ground at terminal velocity.

By measuring videos of the condensation cloud in Beirut, they determine that the explosion created a pressure wave, not a shock wave. This greatly reduced catastrophic injury at distance.

Halifax's explosion almost certainly created a shockwave which would have caused instantly fatal injuries to those unlucky enough to be in the way.
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