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Yield of Lebanon explosion

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Onoma, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Onoma

    Onoma Active Member

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    Anybody want to take a stab at estimating the yield ?

    The main explosion was linked to approximately 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons, 2,000 pounds each ) of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated by the government from an abandoned ship and stored in the port without proper safety measures for the previous six years

    Going by previous explosions of ammonium nitrate, I would estimate about 1 kiloton, give or take a little

    This would make the explosion about 1/15 the yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima
     
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I don't have a background to hazard a guess but your 1/15 estimate gives me pause. That was one big explosion.
     
  3. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    Hmm... I don't know. The explosion seen in the video(s) was big... but if nuclear bombs don't produce 15 times that size or more an explosion, then they definitely aren't as massive as I have always felt they're hyped to be. The white cap of the mushroom in the video likely only extended several city blocks (I would think 10 at most). The shockwave went further out, obviously. I don't know... maybe my perception of it is wacky.
     
  4. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    I was wondering when I saw the mushroom after the explosion.
     
  5. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    I wonder how much Timothy McVeigh used?
     
  6. Onoma

    Onoma Active Member

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    2 tons, supposedly

    According to this article I was off by quite a bit

    " According to a statement issued by the Lebanese authorities following a meeting of Supreme Defence Council, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate is equivalent to 1,800 tons of TNT

    If one had to estimate the yield of this blast, it would be around 1.8 kt or higher, two-third of the Halifax blast and nearly 15% of the yield of the Hiroshima bomb "

    Beirut Blast: How does yield of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate compare against Halifax explosion, Hiroshima bombing?
     
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  7. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I saw a conversion of 3/4 for tons of ammonium nitrate to TNT in yield, would gave an estimate of around 2000 tons of TNT.

    That is only the Hiroshima bomb. Also, nukes have an immediate heat component that conventional bombs do not, which increases the destructive power.

    So, Little Boy (the Hiroshima bomb) was about 15 KT of TNT. That was an atomic bomb and is considered small by today's standards. A typical missile on an ICBM is 1-2 MT, so around 60-120 times as large as the Hiroshima bomb.

    The white cap is called a Wilson cloud and forms because of the over-pressure acting on water vapor. it is not, itself, the mushroom cloud.

    A mushroom cloud (as distinct from the Wilson cloud) will form for any sufficiently hot explosion. The hot gases rise into the atmosphere, producing a 'stalk'. But the cool air above forces the rising gas into a broader 'cap'.
     
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  8. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I'd also point out that nukes generally cause power outages (from the EMP) and firestorms (from the initial heat burst) that are not seen in conventional blasts (although conventional can produce firestorms).

    Also, the center of the city was pretty much leveled here for a mile around (at least). Add to that some radioactivity and you can see the problem of even a 'small' nuke like what destroyed Hiroshima (although the firestorm there was a major component to the destruction).
     
  9. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    It was certainly hot and strong enough to impact miles around it. :)
     
  10. Onoma

    Onoma Active Member

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    What really disturbs me is that people apparently do not seem to learn from previous explosions of stored ammonium nitrate ( Many )

    The fact they let it sit there for so long reeks of incompetence, imo
     
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  11. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Yes. I was a BIG explosion. Not the biggest conventional explosion (the Halifax explosion was bigger), but VERY large.
     
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