What we all know concerning the huge chemical explosion in Beirut

On Tuesday, Beirut was devastated by a large chemical explosion that occurred on the metropolis’s port just a little after 6pm native time. The blast killed not less than 135 folks and injured hundreds extra, and it might have left 300,000 residents homeless after the shockwave shattered glass and broken buildings throughout the Mediterranean metropolis. Preliminary experiences blamed improperly saved fireworks for the catastrophe, however the true wrongdoer quickly emerged: 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that had been seized by Lebanese officers from a freighter in 2013 and saved at a warehouse on the port ever since.

It is now believed {that a} hearth broke out on the warehouse—presumably resulting from careless welding carried out as an anti-theft measure—which prompted the stockpile of the chemical, typically used as a fertilizer, to blow up catastrophically.

Ammonium nitrate has typically been mixed with gas oil to create an explosive that is utilized in mining and development, and it has been used as an oxidizer for rocket engines. However it’s additionally been employed for extra nefarious ends. The primary recorded ammonium nitrate gas oil (ANFO) bomb was detonated in 1970 on the College of Wisconsin-Madison as a protest towards the Vietnam Struggle. Terror teams on either side of Northern Eire’s sectarian battle additionally constructed bombs utilizing ANFO from the 1970s till the 1990s, and Timothy McVeigh used a mix of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane for a terror assault in Oklahoma Metropolis in 1995.

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