Forensic analysis of the Beirut Port explosion

Beirut port explosion
Beirut port explosion, by Forensic Architecture.

There was horrific loss of life at the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. It was detected by the United States Geological Survey as a seismic event of magnitude 3.3, and is considered one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history.

As a former wildland fire investigator I am fascinated by the forensic analysis of the event. The explanatory video (below) was posted by Forensic Architecture. The knowledge and skill that was the foundation of this analysis and simulation is astounding.

Their investigation found that the contents of the warehouse where the incident occurred included:

  • 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate
  • 23 tons of fireworks
  • 5 rolls of slow-burning detonation cord, and
  • 1,000 vehicle tires

The Beirut Port Explosions (English) from Forensic Architecture on Vimeo.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Forensic analysis of the Beirut Port explosion”

  1. Bill, a fascinating and informative presentation! As a former fire and accident investigator over 30 years with the NPS I was really liked the way it was done.


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