Sciences. The big explosion at Beirut Port disturbed the ionosphere

Madrid, 17 (Europe Press)

The air wave from Beirut Harbor Big Bang on August 4, 2020 has caused high electron disturbances in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The results are published by scientists at Hokkaido University, Japan, in the journal Scientific Reports.

More than 2,750 tons of insecurely stored ammonium nitrate exploded, killing nearly 200 people, leaving more than 300,000 temporarily homeless and leaving a crater in their wake. The blast is considered one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions of man-made history.

The team of scientists, which included colleagues from the Rorkela National Institute of Technology in India, calculated changes in the total electron content in Earth’s ionosphere – the part of the atmosphere between 50 and 965 kilometers above sea level. Natural events such as intense ultraviolet rays, geomagnetic storms, and man-made activities such as nuclear tests can cause disturbances in the electron content in the ionosphere.

“We discovered that the explosion generated a wave that traveled in the ionosphere in a southerly direction at a speed of about 0.8 kilometers per second,” says Hokkaido University’s planetary and Earth scientist, Kosuke Heikki. This is comparable to the speed of sound waves traveling through the ionosphere.

The team calculated changes in electron content in the ionosphere by looking at the differences in the delays experienced by microwave signals that Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites send to their ground stations. Changes in electron content affect these signals as they pass through the ionosphere and must be periodically accounted for to accurately measure GPS locations.

The scientists also compared the size of the celestial wave resulting from the Beirut explosion with similar waves after natural and anthropogenic events. They found that the ripple resulting from the Beirut eruption was slightly larger than the ripple resulting from the 2004 eruption of the Asama volcano in central Japan, and comparable to those that followed the recent eruptions on the Japanese islands.

The energy of the celestial wave produced by the Beirut explosion was much greater than a stronger explosion at the Wyoming coal mine in the United States in 1996. The Beirut explosion was equivalent to an explosion of 1.1 kilotons of TNT, while the Wyoming explosion was equivalent to 1.5 kilotons. From TNT. The total electron content imbalance from the Wyoming explosion was one-tenth of what resulted from the Beirut explosion. Scientists believe this is in part because the Wyoming mine was located in a somewhat sheltered shaft.

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