(ORDO NEWS) — When an incredible explosion created a mushroom cloud over Beirut, which killed dozens of people and injured thousands, Internet experts and conspiracy theorists quickly made the intimidating statement: a nuclear bomb exploded in the Lebanese capital.
But, contrary to rapidly spreading rumors, the explosion was most likely not caused by nuclear weapons, authorities say.
Even before Lebanese officials said the explosion was caused by a large stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port, experts who study nuclear weapons unequivocally rejected the idea that Beirut was hit by a nuclear bomb, according to The Guardian.
— Nader Itayim | نادر ایتیّم (@ncitayim) August 4, 2020
Vipin Narang, who studies nuclear weapons at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, immediately dismissed the nuclear bomb suggestion. “I am studying nuclear weapons. The explosion was not like that, “Narang wrote on Tuesday.
Martin Pfeiffer, a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico who studies the history of nuclear weapons, also dismissed social media claims that a “nuclear strike” caused the explosion. “Obviously this is not a nuclear bomb,” Pfeiffer tweeted, later saying, “This is a fire that detonated explosives or chemicals.”
Seven different angles of the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon from this morning.
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 4, 2020
Pfeiffer pointed out that two signs of a nuclear explosion were missing: a “blinding white flash” and a heat pulse, or heat wave, which could otherwise ignite the entire area.
The explosion did indeed cause a powerful shockwave that seemingly shattered windows all over Beirut, and for a short time it was visible as an expanding, shell-like cloud – something that can often be seen in historical footage of nuclear explosions.
But in this case, the Beirut tragedy was by no means nuclear.
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