Death in Beirut


Click to run

This is 4K video. Open it up to full screen. It repeats twice…each time slower motion.

Annually, the world produces and stores enormous amounts of ammonium nitrate—more than 20 million tons in 2017. But for the compound to figure in an explosion of this magnitude, chemists and explosives experts say a lot has to go wrong.

The most interesting thing to me – technically – is noting the shock wave travels through the earth, through solids…faster than it does through the air. You can see near(er) objects judder frame-by-frame in the last slo-mo before the airborne blast arrives in the vicinity of the videographer.

No surprise there. Just didn’t think of it till I saw it.

4 thoughts on “Death in Beirut

  1. Safety last says:

    “Beirut blast a wake-up call on dangers of ammonium nitrate, experts warn” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-security-blast-ammonium/beirut-blast-a-wake-up-call-on-dangers-of-ammonium-nitrate-experts-warn-idUSKCN25322B
    “The United States in 2019 eased chemical-safety regulations implemented after a deadly ammonium nitrate blast in 2013. The move cut costly regulations but still kept safety measures, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
    Rick Engler, a former member of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, said the EPA should add ammonium nitrate to a list of regulated chemicals needing increased oversight, calling present U.S. regulations “thoroughly inadequate.”
    The United States does not maintain a public database on the locations of ammonium nitrate, meaning people do not know if they live near one, said Elena Craft, of the Environmental Defense Fund advocacy group.
    “There are a lot of unknowns about how much of this material exists and where,” Craft said. “You don’t know the magnitude of that risk because of the lack of information that’s available.”

  2. Post mortem says:

    “In Pictures: Scars from Beirut blast capture moment of horror : The trauma from the huge explosion will run deep, even in a city that has seen decades of war, conflict and instability.” https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-scars-beirut-blast-capture-moment-horror-200819070439723.html
    “Beirut explosion: FBI to take part in Lebanon investigation” (8/15/20) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/15/beirut-explosion-fbi-lebanon-investigation-us
    France is also taking part in the Lebanese-led investigation.
    Many Lebanese people want the investigation taken out of the hands of their government, fearing that bickering among the entrenched political factions, notorious for corruption, will not allow results to come to light that might damage their leadership.
    Top Lebanese officials, including President Michel Aoun, have rejected calls for an independent investigation, describing it as “a waste of time” that would be politicized.

  3. Epilogue says:

    ‘Absolutely horrendous.’ Scientists discuss Beirut’s blast and how they are coping with its aftermath https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/absolutely-horrendous-scientists-discuss-beirut-s-blast-and-how-they-are-coping-its
    “How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port : Fifteen tons of fireworks. Jugs of kerosene and acid. Thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate. A system of corruption and bribes let the perfect bomb sit for years.” https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/09/world/middleeast/beirut-explosion.html (includes interactive animation and stop motion photography of the explosion)
    “Previously undisclosed documents lay out how numerous government agencies passed off responsibility for defusing the situation. Exclusive photographs from inside the hangar show the haphazard, and ultimately catastrophic, handling of explosive materials. And an analysis of high-definition video illustrates how the volatile cocktail of combustible substances came together to produce the most devastating explosion in Lebanon’s history.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.