Quantcast

Massive Beirut, Lebanon explosion

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
Said to be a fireworks storage area and the first smart phone video seems to confirm that, but the blast is more like high explosives. The brown smoke should be a clue about what type, but I don't know for sure what. Nitrogen dioxide is reddish brown. Could this be an ammonium nitrate based explosion? Maybe they were storing that along with fireworks in a generic explosives storage area? In the middle of a city. That's not smart... The second video looks like the explosion was immediately behind a large hotel or office building. There are going to be a huge number of casualties from this.

 

heada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,374
Reaction score
665
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana
It looked like it could be fireworks at first, lots of small events but then something changed. That last big one wasn't stored fireworks. That looked like a high explosive or a large amount of oxidizer decomposed and went all at once like what happened at Pepcon. Very much not good.
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
"Lebanon General Intel Director stated chemicals where stored in the port after seizure from ship."

Obviously a fireworks fire that initiated the detonation. In this video, rolling obliteration is shown ahead of the shock wave, until he ducked. Can't blame him and at least he didn't shout a profanity or three (as I would have):

 

dr wogz

Fly caster
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
5,494
Reaction score
804
Location
Land of Poutine!
Quite the shock wave.. interesting how the air seems to vaporize with its force.

last rumor I heard was a chemical fire that got out of hand..
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
Frames I caught:



Reminds me of this which I posted recently:


Each "Sailor Hat" test at Kahoʻolawe consisted of a dome-stacked 500-short-ton (454 t) charge of TNT high explosive detonated on the shore close to the ships under test. However, since a TNT detonation releases energy more slowly than a nuclear explosion, the blast effect was equivalent to a 1 kiloton of TNT (4.2 TJ) nuclear weapon.[3]

 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
last rumor I heard was a chemical fire that got out of hand..
"Lebanon General Intel Director stated chemicals where stored in the port after seizure from ship."

From other videos it looks like a fireworks fire initiated it. I'd guess the detonation is from ammonium nitrate. The 2015 Tianjin, China ammonium nitrate explosions were at night, but the clouds from them were dark under illumination from the explosions, so I'll bet they were dark brown, too.
 

Peartree

Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Administrator
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
4,966
Reaction score
537
Location
Alliance, Ohio
On the other hand, according to the State Department, Hizballah, ISIS, Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades all operate within Lebanon. Hezbollah has been known to store explosives in cities, private residences, and even medical facilities to reduce the liklihood that they would get bombed. Of course, if it was any of those groups, no one is likely to admit that it was them so...
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
Sloppy enforcement of, inadequate, or no regulations on explosives safety... just like in Tianjin, China... like not storing fireworks anywhere near massive amounts of ammonium nitrate.

In Tianjin, China, the problem started with a fire which resulted in water being sprayed over huge amounts of calcium carbide... which then produces acetylene gas... which at a surprisingly broad range of concentrations in air detonates... which then caused major issues with the huge amount of ammonium nitrate stored nearby.

Chain of Fools



Update-3: Beirut's economically vital port appears to be utterly destroyed. Early reports cited at least 400 wounded and dozens killed, with local hospitals overwhelmed. While Lebanese government officials initially identified a fireworks depot at the site of the largest explosion in Lebanon's history (even over years and decades of prior wars), it's now being widely reported that Ammonium Nitrate, a very explosive compound and commonly used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer, was being stored at the location [and the fireworks fire led to its detonation - W]

BEIRUT BLAST CAUSED BY AMMONIUM NITRATE: INTERIOR MINISTER
LEBANON HEALTH MINISTER SAYS AT LEAST 27 KILLED IN BLAST
LEBANON HEALTH MINISTER SAYS `THOUSANDS' INJURED FROM BLAST


Even closer:


Damage:


 

manixFan

Not a rocket scientist
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
1,791
Reaction score
770
Location
TX
In the second clip below you can clearly see bright white flashes that look like fireworks. There is a fire burning on the left side of that area. A frame or two before the blast, that fire suddenly disappears and KABOOM!

Just for those that don't know: In Youtube you can use the K key to stop the video, and then the , (comma) and . (Period) keys to step back and forth frame by frame, J and L jump back or forward 10 seconds. Also (shift + <) and (shift + >) to go slow or fast motion, from .25X speed to 2X


Tony

 

heada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,374
Reaction score
665
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana
Read a report that it was high explosives that was seized in 2014 and being stored.

Over 2700 injured and over 75 dead. Felt over 100 miles away and registered as a 3.3 earthquake.
 

ksaves2

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
5,887
Reaction score
276
Gosh, I feel sorry for those folks.
 

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
4,126
Reaction score
1,339
Location
Melbourne Australia
2750 metric tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate from what I read. Serious quantity.

Germany has detected the explosion as a 3.5 earthquake.
 

PatD

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
350
Reaction score
190
Wow! When you get the condensation cloud ahead of the shock wave that's a biggie. You can see the shock wave on the desert floor from the Pepcon explosion but this one gives the globe effect. Big enough to rival a tac nuke device. Prayers their way, lots of suffering going on.
 

Sooner Boomer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
2,885
Reaction score
490
2750 metric tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate from what I read. Serious quantity.

Germany has detected the explosion as a 3.5 earthquake.
*Metric" tonnes? I had heard 2700 tons (short-tons; 2000lbs) which would be 5.4 MILLION pounds! OK, possibly *more*?
 

Sooner Boomer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
2,885
Reaction score
490
Said to be a fireworks storage area ... (snip) The second video looks like the explosion was immediately behind a large hotel or office building.
It was in a general-use warehouse. The entire area was full of them. What was the warehouse is now a crater full of seawater several hundred feet across and who knows how deep.
(pictures from Daily Mail)


The large structure was a grain elevator. Right next to explosion. I'm glad it was such a solid structure by nature. Wonder if there was any shielding or "shadowing" of blast wave behind building?

 
Last edited:

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
The Georgian cargo ship Rhosus had technical problems and came into the Beruit port in late 2013. Lebanon inspectors would not let it sail. The ship was abandoned by it owners.

2020 Beirut explosions


The main explosion was linked to approximately 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons) of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated by the government from an abandoned ship and stored in the port without safety measures for the previous six years.

Various customs officials had sent letters to judges requesting a resolution to the issue of the confiscated cargo, proposing that the ammonium nitrate either be exported, given to the Army, or sold to the private Lebanese Explosives Company.[19] Letters had been sent on 27 June 2014, 5 December 2014, 6 May 2015, 20 May 2016, 13 October 2016, and 27 October 2017.[19] One of the letters sent in 2016 noted that judges had not replied to previous requests, and "pleaded" for a resolution due to the "serious danger of keeping these goods in the hangar in unsuitable climatic conditions".[19]




3 kilotons of TNT estimated equivalent using the same method used to estimate nuclear weapon yield from fireball expansion:

 
Last edited:

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
It was in a general-use warehouse. The entire area was full of them. What was the warehouse is now a crater full of seawater several hundred feet across and who knows how deep.
(pictures from Daily Mail)


The large structure was a grain elevator. Right next to explosion. I'm glad it was such a solid structure by nature. Wonder if there was any shielding or "shadowing" of blast wave behind building?

Yeah, what looked like an office building or hotel in distant videos was a silo.
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886
The brown smoke should be a clue about what type, but I don't know for sure what. Nitrogen dioxide is reddish brown. Could this be an ammonium nitrate based explosion?
Now we know:


A first, smaller, explosion sent a cloud of smoke above the fires and created flashes of light said to resemble fireworks.[21] The second explosion was much more substantial and occurred at about 18:08 local time.[22][21] It rocked central Beirut and sent a reddish cloud into the air, believed to be nitrogen dioxide—a breakdown product of ammonium nitrate.
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,616
Reaction score
886

Even before the blast, the country had been devastated by the virus pandemic, a crippling economic collapse, and government corruption. The destruction of the nation's top port suggests the primary channels for imports and exports have been completely severed. The ability of the country to feed 7 million people could transform into a significant health crisis in the months ahead.

Epoch Times estimates 85% of the country's grain, mostly stored in silos at the port, was also destroyed.


 

Mushtang

Premium Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
2,980
Reaction score
370
Location
Buford, Ga
I saw this comparison on Reddit and was amazed.

The Oklahoma City bombing (top picture) was about 2.5 tons of Ammonium Nitrate. The Beirut Port (bottom) was an estimated 2,750 tons.


 

Marc_G

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,435
Reaction score
556
Location
Indianapolis Metro Area
Wait, you mean we aren't supposed to keep stockpiles of ammonium nitrate next to the fireworks warehouse? Who woulda thunk it.

Such a needless tragedy in an already troubled part of the world
 

BABAR

Builds Rockets for NASA
TRF Lifetime Supporter
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
6,259
Reaction score
1,541
Learning point.

If you see an unexplained fire or explosion, do NOT assume you are at a safe distance to take videos. Head away or get under cover. All deaths and injuries are tragic here, I wonder how many could have been prevented if people weren’t gawking.......

I had a an Air Force base commander at Altus Oklahoma who said he would court martial anyone caught taking pictures of a tornado.
 

MClark

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
2,534
Reaction score
542
Location
Glendale, AZ
Similar to the Russian meteor. Standing around gawking and taking videos and get a face full of glass.

One report said The grain elevator contained 85% of the country’s supply.
The situation keeps getting more falafel .
 

beeblebrox

8 C6-0, 12 D11-9, 20 D20-0, 20 E5-0, 3 Cinerocs
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
614
Reaction score
201
Location
West Chester, PA
Top