Upon studying the images and videos of the blast that destroyed the Port of Beirut and many of the structures in the capital, British experts have deemed it to be among the strongest non-nuclear explosions in history.
“Unquestionably,” the team of engineering experts from the University of Sheffield deduced, the Beirut Port blast is one of the largest non-nuclear blasts ever recorded.
Its blast intensity was equivalent to 1,000-1,500 tonnes of TNT, the experts estimated.
They found that this intensity would support the reports that the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was what caused the explosion, following a fire.
Far bigger than any blast from a conventional weapon
Considering these numbers, the explosion that leveled much of Lebanon’s vital port is about a tenth of the intensity of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, but “far bigger than any blast from a conventional weapon.”
“The effects of an event like this are catastrophic to people, infrastructure, economic livelihoods, and to the environment,” the engineering team noted.
Professor Andy Tyas, an expert on blast protection engineering at the aforementioned university, said that the biggest danger in urban explosions, the size of the one that took place in Beirut, was from flying glass; such explosions could cause injuries over long distances.
“… A blast explosion of this size would be likely to cause damage to glazing and related injuries over a distance far beyond 1 km,” Tyas said.
Indeed, the destruction left behind by the catastrophic Beirut explosion, which displaced 300,000+ people and killed and injured many others, has reached far beyond the city’s center.