2020 Beirut Explosion — Negligence or Missile? [Quick Analysis of the Main Blast]

“It is possible that it (the explosion) was caused by negligence or by external action, with a missile or a bomb.”

Lebanese president Michel Aoun (Friday August 7 2020)

“This is negligence from the ruling elite. An atomic bomb was there for years, and not a single leader or ruler did anything about it.”

Beirut resident

On August 4 2020, a devastating explosion in the Port of Beirut killed about 150 people and injured more than 1500. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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Shortly after 18:00 local time (15:00 GMT), the roof of the warehouse caught alight and there was a large initial explosion, followed by a series of smaller — fireworks-like sounding — blasts.

About 30 seconds later, there was a colossal explosion that sent a mushroom cloud into the air. The blast wave created a crater 120 meter wide and 43 meter deep.

The blast wave leveled surrounding buildings  and caused extensive damage all over Beirut.

Quick Analysis of the Main Blast

The main explosion was linked to about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate equivalent to 1.1 kilotons of TNT.

The explosion was detected as a seismic event of magnitude 3.3 by the United States Geological Survey.

A 3.3 magnitude translates into a yield of about 0.2 kilotons of TNT.

This is about 5 times lower than expected but it may be explained by a very inefficient transmission of the shock waves into the ground.

As an expert from Yale University told Intel Today,

“Much of the blast was directed into the surrounding air, not into the solid ground, so I would expect a lower yield estimate. A 80% reduction in apparent yield seems reasonable.”

I may be able to find some information on the decoupling factor from similar previous tragedies such as the 2015 explosion in Tianjin, China.

Mushroom — There are videos of the blast. If  the speed of the mushroom expansion from these videos can be estimated, the yield could be derived in an independent way. The depth of the crater could also be useful in determining the yield of the blast.

What is up with the Missile Theory?

Although there is some uncertainty about the primary cause of this explosion, it is fairly safe to conclude that the main explosion was caused by the ignition of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate unsafely stored in this building for almost a decade.

Why would Lebanese president Michel Aoun suggest that a missile may have caused the tragedy?

Intel Today believes that this is actually a message addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron, who suggested that a transparent international inquiry is needed.

If Macron wants transparency about tragedies caused by a missile, the French President could immediately declassify the documents related to at least two major tragedies: Itavia Flight 870 (Ustica – June 27 1980) and the mysterious explosion of “La Maison des Têtes” (Toulon – February 15 1989).

Initially, the crash of Itavia Flight 870 was blamed on a terrorist bomb. However, on January 23 2013, Italy’s top criminal court ruled that there was “abundantly” clear evidence that the flight was brought down by a missile.

Documents from the archives of the Libyan secret service — passed on to Human Rights Watch after the fall of Tripoli — show that Flight 870 was downed by a French jet engaged in a dog fight with a Libyan MiG. France — and Belgium — have refused to collaborate to the investigation on the ground of National Security.

Officially, the tragedy of “La Maison des Têtes” in Toulon is blamed on a gas explosion.

The families of the victims have never accepted this idiotic explanation. Many experts believe that the building was destroyed by a missile fired accidentally by the USS Austin.

French military documents have been classified for 100 years under “SECRET DEFENSE”.

Lebanese president hints missile may be behind blast

REFERENCES

Beirut explosion: What we know so far — BBC

Beirut explosion: anger at officials grows after missed warnings — The Guardian

2020 Beirut explosions — Wikipedia

expert reaction to Beirut explosion — Science Media Center

What we know about the massive chemical explosion in Beirut — Ars Technica

 

China explosions: Tianjin blasts ‘on seismic scale’ — BBC

2015 Tianjin explosions — Wikipedia

 

Minor Scale — Wikipedia

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Beirut Explosion — Negligence or Missile? [Quick Analysis of the Main Blast]

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