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Tue Aug 4, 2020, 05:43 PM

What Just Blew Up In Beirut? (Bellingcat)

Bellingcat
Nick Waters
August 4, 2020

Shortly before 6 PM Beirut time reports began flooding Twitter of a fire and a series of explosions in Beirut. It rapidly became evident that event was far more than a small industrial fire.

Shortly after, videos and images of a vast explosion flooded onto social media. The video below is a clear example, showing a fire, suddenly transforming into a vast fireball and a shockwave which ripped buildings apart.

Where did the explosion happen?

The videos and images of this event all focus on a single location on the docks in Beirut at 33.901353, 35.518835. Although there were claims of explosions at other locations, there does not appear to be images or videos of this, and it is likely these reports were simply a result of the vast explosion at the docks.

What happened?

Although there were some claims that this explosion could have been a ship, or indeed an airstrike, nothing in open source videos suggest this was the case. Multiple images and videos show a warehouse on fire and several smaller explosions shortly before a gigantic detonation. The video below captures this in detail.

In the video above, the epicenter of the blast appears to be a warehouse on the dock located at 33.901353, 35.519006. Some users on social media have referred to this as “warehouse 12“. Note that the Beirut Port Silos to the west (left) do not appear to be the initial source of this detonation.


Read the report (thoroughly illustrated): https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2020/08/04/what-just-blew-up-in-beirut/


12 replies, 1173 views

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply What Just Blew Up In Beirut? (Bellingcat) (Original post)
Mike 03 Aug 2020 OP
sfstaxprep Aug 2020 #1
underpants Aug 2020 #4
ProfessorGAC Aug 2020 #5
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2020 #10
alwaysinasnit Aug 2020 #2
ornotna Aug 2020 #3
Mosby Aug 2020 #6
hunter Aug 2020 #8
ProfessorGAC Aug 2020 #12
captain queeg Aug 2020 #7
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2020 #11
crickets Aug 2020 #9

Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 05:45 PM

1. 2,750 Tons Of Ammonium Nitrate

That those IDIOTS had stored in a single location for the last 7 years, since it was confiscated from a ship near their coast.

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Response to sfstaxprep (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 05:51 PM

4. At a port that 70% of the food imports pass through

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Response to sfstaxprep (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 05:52 PM

5. Near Other Volatiles!

The yellow smoke wafting over the black smoke seconds before the blast is a tell.
Smoke was gray, turns black, then fast rising yellow smoke coats the black, just upwind.
A few seconds later...detonation.
There was something else burning very hot (fast rising smoke) and had an element making yellow smoke. (Sodium, sulfur, liberated chlorine???)
Regs here say bulk ammonium nitrate can't be stored within 500 yards of any other detonatable or conflagatory compounds.
It seems likely that common sense precaution was not taken.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 10:06 PM

10. There are vids that say/show stored fireworks going off



after the initial plume of smoke, before the big boom.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 05:50 PM

2. Just, WOW! k&r

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 05:50 PM

3. The explosion was felt and heard in Cyprus

Heard that on the radio.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 07:13 PM

8. It doesn't need a fuel so much as a media to transmit the shock wave that detonates it.

Typically fuel oil is used as that media when you want something to explode. ANFO, Ammonium Nitrate / Fuel Oil mixes are commonly used in mining. It's not easy to set off smaller amounts ANFO. Generally, special blasting caps are required. That's a safety feature. The fuel oil transmits the shock wave from the blasting cap to the individual grains of ammonium nitrate in whatever hole you've filled with it.

When large amounts of ammonium nitrate are stored, all bets are off. Anything that produces a large enough shock wave can set off the entire lot, no fuel required. Ammonium nitrate carries it's own "fuel" in the form of nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen that would rather not be crammed together in a single molecule. It would much rather be air and water and it can transform itself into such a state explosively.

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Response to hunter (Reply #8)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 05:24 AM

12. You Are Correct

In fact, at high temperatures (fire) 2 moles of AmNO can decompose to 8 moles of nitrogen, 4 moles of hydrogen, and 3 moles of oxygen.
The stoichiometry is there for a hydrogen fire.
Some of the AmNO decomposes, the hydrogen creates a BLEVE, and the shock wave sets off the rest.
The physical chemistry is pretty clear.
AmNO does not require diesel oil or kerosene to detonate.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 06:11 PM

7. Can't wait for trump to tell us what it was

Guarantee he’ll say something stupid.

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Response to captain queeg (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 10:17 PM

11. He did.



"My generals tell me it was a bomb"

MY generals. sheesh

Biden's statement was as epected for a human being.....hearts go out to families, wounded, the President should offer aid, etc.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 09:47 PM

9. That's an impressive collection of precise information.

I do hope there's a follow-up when there's more information to be had.

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