Udayavni Special

Beirut Blast: What is ammonium nitrate that caused such a devastating explosion?


Team Udayavani, Aug 6, 2020, 11:31 AM IST

A massive explosion that shook the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, August 4,  left over 135 people dead and thousands injured. The explosion took place around 6 pm near the headquarters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

There have been several speculations regarding the cause of the explosion. According to CNN, Initially, it was blamed on a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port. But on Wednesday, August 7,  Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that about 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material, had been stored at a port warehouse over the past six years without precautionary measures

What is ammonium nitrate?

Ammonium nitrate is used in fertilizer and in the mining industry as an explosive to blast rock and move mounds of earth. Ammonium nitrate has been used in terrorist attacks, such as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995

It is said that ammonium nitrate is an oxidizer,  it intensifies combustion and allows other substances to ignite more readily, but is not itself very combustible. In this situation, a small explosion might have instigated the reaction of the ammonium nitrate

Once a reaction is sparked, ammonium nitrate explodes violently. The explosive force occurs when solid ammonium nitrate decomposes very rapidly into two gases, nitrous oxide and water vapor.

What happened in Beirut?

According to NYtimes, around  2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was stored in a warehouse on the Beirut waterfront and caught fire, later exploding. The fertilizer arrived in the city more than six years ago aboard a Russian-owned cargo ship that made an unscheduled stop in the city. Lebanese port officials said they made several requests to the courts to have the stockpile removed, but got no response.

The fumes in Beirut will present a health risk to residents until they naturally dissipate, which could take several days depending on the local weather

Several charities are on the ground providing medical care, shelter, supplies and other services to help the city recover and rebuild

 

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

India might see ‘serious livelihood crisis’, says economist Jean Dreze

1971 war veteran Sqn Ldr Anil Bhalla (Retd) no more

Prioritise vaccinating those due for second dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Centre to states

Over-staying COVID-19 patients in hospitals should go home, says BSY

Telangana announces 10-day lockdown from May 12

Met Dept forecasts thunderstorm in Udupi, DK and Kodagu dists on Monday evening

‘Variant of Concern’: All you need to know about the Indian variant of Covid-19



Related Articles More

Common items named after real people

‘Variant of Concern’: All you need to know about the Indian variant of Covid-19

Fact Check: Did government approve Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children above 12 years?

Aatma Nirbhar: Indian Oil Corporation’s role in making India progress towards petroleum self sufficiency

Meghalaya: Mushrooms that glow in the dark

MUST WATCH

Udayavani 11 -May -2021 News Bulletin

Karnataka’s first oxygen express to reach Whitefield

Kuwait ship carrying medical oxygen arrives at Navamangalore port

Dr Dinesh Shetty | Current Situation in Karnataka | Udayavani

Young man comes to buy vegetables wearing doctor’s apron

Latest Additions

India might see ‘serious livelihood crisis’, says economist Jean Dreze

1971 war veteran Sqn Ldr Anil Bhalla (Retd) no more

Prioritise vaccinating those due for second dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Centre to states

Centre, states doing everything possible to tackle COVID crisis: Rajnath

Govt says no link between 5G and spread of COVID, urges public to not fall for baseless claims

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.