The story of the AZF accident near Bordeaux on Sept 21th 2001: geophysics of the post-9/11 rise of tensions is the surprising answer (it was a “TEMPORARY VOLCANO ZONE”) — AZF, évenement géophysique lié à la hausse des tensions post 11 Septembre

So I was thinking I could maybe contribute to fix the debate over the AZF explosion. The only contribution where I can be FIRM is that it was NOT a terrorist attack, based on what I see but then there is a more complex discussion. Here’s the main (1) – easy, tempting… and the second one (2) and I explain why I have definitively picked the (2) and exclude the cosmic hypothesis at the end ; I show the reasoning here because this is not an easy case, really, but solved.

  1. the relativistic neutron event, from somewhere out in space with no major light emission visible to Earth (the report, and the very important comments later :

D. W. Fox, R. Burruss, E. Berger, J. S. Bloom, S. G. Djorgovski, and S. R. Kulkarni (Caltech), with M. Haynes (Cornell), report on behalf of the larger Caltech-NRAO-CARA GRB collaboration: “R. Burrus obtained Sloan r’ images of the joint HETE/IPN localization for GRB010921 (HETE trigger #1761; GCNs #1096 and #1097) with the Hale 200-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory beginning 22 hours after the trigger (22 September 03:18 UT). The instrument used was the Large Format Camera (LFC) and the observations were 4 min in duration (3 pointings). Visual comparison with the Digital Palomar Observatory Sky Survey F plate reveals no obvious new source to the depth of the DPOSS image (R ~ 20.5 mag)

So the depth is huge already (20.5 mag is quasar level…) but there is nothing visible, which is why I exclude this hypothesis in spite of the coincidence of the gamma ray burst, at 5h15 universal time on Sept. 21.

2. My hypothesis is that due to the “war drums” and perhaps some underground nuclear test(s) somewhere, all of that in the immediate excitation following 9/11, with also the fact it was a period of economic growth leading to increasing weight on the crust everywhere, we have a magmatic dynamic starting up in the Western World with echoes of earthquakes lighting up other areas, areas that had been brought close to criticity by earlier economic development. So the military drumming breaches the general potential barrier and a purely geophysical event happens down under the AZF plant. Its quite slow neutrons meet a package of phosphates, in these some meet one U235 atom, fission, it’s in phosphate stocks, lights it up together perhaps with other atoms. I’m not standing with the hypothesis of the secret nuclear reactor here. Total absence of sustained fire, no epidemiological aftermath. It’s just a single-time “pure” dilatation from the chemical energy, mainly, vaporising a very, very big pack of chemicals stored, due to localized fission of a few NORMs after underground neutrons come in.

So of course relativistic neutrons can start a fire in a pack of chemicals with NORMs in (or with lead, tungsten… etc around) and it could even seem this is more likely due to strong ratio U238/U235. But a bunch of relativistic neutrons are not really enough to start an explosion in a big room full of chemicals because the impact of relativistic neutrons is a single-time event and if it were a cosmic event with relativistic neutrons, we would have needed a more powerful wave of relativistic neutrons except maybe with very poor plant planning, in this hypothesis the fire event starts most likely on top of a pile of chemicals (because it’s relativistic neutrons, they hit from above, either the fire rises very rapidly with oxygen feeding or it dies, whereas a subterraneous fire from the geophysical source allows for the slow buildup… It’s possible the relativistic neutrons go through the pile and hit deeper but, in this case, the observation of earthquakes after the gamma burst does not show a tremendous rise over Western Europe, there is an earthquake in Poland that happens before it though, at 03h15 UTC (Mag 4,3), there is an interesting Mag 4,2 in Spain on 09/23 at 5,5 km depth but I have to remind the issue of the post-9/11 attack and the hypothesis of secret underground nuclear tests.

The geophysical answer holds the key : the underground natural reactor (with slow start up because we remain in an area with no tectonic pressure, it’s just a city in plains) begins slowly its burn-up process under the changes that have been made possible by the increased activity in other regions that increased the tectonic pressure there, so it creates a increasing flow of fast-to-thermal neutrons (we are close to the sea, there is a river, there is hydratation… it’s not perfect though) that can cause many events of fission in the mix, burning up the chemical content in separate points, and making its collapse onto itself and final burst possible.

AND I am very happy (after checking videos available, did not before going up to there) to show that the helicopter videos from the Gendarmerie Nationale demonstrate my (2) definitively: we see the pothole area near the river, it’s the geophysical answer – small “volcano” phenomenon. CONFIRMED BY THE EARTHQUAKE IN POLAND BEFORE THE GRB (if you had not understood it before ;-)).

The short (screenshot from local newspaper La Dépêche of the video) shows the pothole, it’s quite close to the river, it created a more powerful flat chemical burst north of it. (below)

It was not a terrorist attack, it was not a relativistic neutron event, it was a temporary nanovolcano linked to the combination of the economic growth of that era and of the “war drums” (and maybe some underground nuclear testing somewhere included in these “war drums”).


Donc pour résumer, l’observation attentive des données géophysiques confirme l’hypothèse non pas du “terroriste en pull” mais de l’ACCIDENT mais corrélé à une période où se combinaient croissance économique (la belle époque des 3%) et montée en puissance industrielle et militaire post 11 Septembre avec peut-être du test nucléaire souterrain juste après les attentats d’Al Qaida, elle montre qu’il s’agit d’une nano éruption volcanique, on voit le cratère, lié à la contamination aux “NORMs” de phosphates, un petit bouillonnement magmatique produisant quelques neutrons assez performants pour traverser le sol et rencontrer de l’u235 naturellement présent dans le stock de phosphates ce qui produit l’explosion. L’hypothèse cosmique est exclue, il y a un petit événement spatial… mais dont les effets ne sont pas logiques, les neutrons relativistes tombent de l’espace, la configuration pour une explosion chimique à partir de neutrons relativistes exclue du fait du manque de séismes ex-post sur le continent européen. Un séisme avant le gamma ray burst, en Pologne, gamma ray burst trop modeste de toute façon, confirme l’hypothèse des pressions tectoniques !

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