Transcript for Analyzing Beirut’s massive explosion, which killed at least 135
To get a better sense of the explosion and the science behind it, earlier today I spoke to Dr. Van Romero, professor and vice president of research at the new Mexico institute of mining and technology. Thanks for joining us. For starters, looking at those terrible videos of the explosion in Beirut, what does your experience tell but that blast? What iary poos appears to have happened is a fire that led to an explosion and led to the huge explosion because of the ammonium nitrate in the area. Once that starts, you can't stop it. "Nightline" spoke to Kareem qassam, who experienced the blast Kareem said when he saw the mushroom cloud, he ran inside through his open balcony door before he felt the second blast. How important was it that his balcony door was open and that he ran when he saw the mushroom cloud? It appears to me that that saved his life. The shock wave comes in and hits the window. Some of it bounces out. So actually by keeping the door open, more of the shock wave got in, but it gave him a path to eskam. What does the color of the plume indicate? Why was it a pink-red color? That very interesting. It's obvious that what you see that red hue or pinkish hue is ammonium nitrate that did not detonate. The ammonium nitrate that stayed on the top of the pile, it gets thrown up and out before it can react chemically. That's what you see in that cloud with the red tinge. A report from the chemical safety board found there are 47 states that store ammonium is that an issue in the U.S. That needs to be addressed? There was an event in west Texas I think it was around 2013, where they had a manufacturing plant that detonated. And every time we have an event like that, we look at our regulations and how we store this type of material. Tragedies like this can always be avoided, if things are stored properly. Unfortunately, these rules aren't always followed. Dr. Van Romero, thank you so much, sir, for your time. Ngs that you.
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