Explosion equaled two tons of TNT

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com The biodiesel plant explosion on Wednesday was about as powerful as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
The biodiesel plant explosion on Wednesday was about as powerful as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – The biodiesel plant explosion that rocked New Albany early Wednesday morning was equal in size to the explosion produced by about 2 tons of TNT.

Roger Waxler, leader of the Infrasound Research Group at the National Center for Physical Acoustics at the University of Mississippi, said they picked up the reading on their field research equipment Wednesday.

The test equipment is used to pick up soundwaves below human hearing.

Wexler said the magnitude of the sound of the explosion wasn’t the key factor; it is the peak frequency of the explosion, which was two hertz. That frequency is similar to the frequency made by the explosion of 4,000 pounds of TNT.

By that estimate, the New Albany explosion had a yield similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, also estimated at the equivalent of 2 tons of TNT.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Brett Carr said the fire remained out Friday with no flare-ups while crews from the Mississippi Department of Environment Quality and United States Environmental Services began prep work to clean the site of the burned biodiesel plant.

Crews also began to repair a portion of railroad track near the plant that was damaged in the explosion.

Containment walls were built around the site to prevent run-off.

A portion of Highway 15 spanning the half mile on either side of the plant was closed after the initial explosion Wednesday morning and reopened Friday morning.

jb.clark@journalinc.com