WTC Collapse Paper on Online Science Journal

The paper linked to above talks about the collapse of tower two in terms of an avalanche and concludes that the total collapse observed at near free-fall speed would not have been possible absent a "wave of mass destruction" that the author does not speculate on. Of course, one can infer that the wave of mass destruction was the result of timed explosions and/or pre-planted incendiaries like thermite.  I'm just throwing this out as a curiosity--the site it is on is an online "journal" that has been the subject of a few disagreements in the editorial/opinion pages of Harvard's student newspaper.  In fact, one junior physics prof at Harvard links to it on his site ( in an attempt to "debunk" it.  He claims at the outset of his debunking that the "high temperatures melted the metallic structure".  Hee hee, the best and brightest indeed.  Anyway back to this paper--I think it's funny that it doesn't come out and say EXPLOSIVES could cause a "wave of massive destruction".  I also think it's funny he uses the abbreviation WMD.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing--I don't know but I thought I'd throw it out for comments from the crew here!

So here is his conclusion:


We conclude that in a tall building like WTC 2 a single avalanche may form under the conditions such as those following the airplane impact. The avalanche can propagate a few floors, at best, before it comes to a stop. The avalanche cannot reach ground zero, however, if the damage is localized only to the impacted floors. For the avalanche to develop and consume whole building in the time of ∼ 1.2 · T extremely high levels of damage to the floors that were not directly affected by the airplane collision are required. If such a damage were delivered slowly to the whole building, this would have initiated one or possibly few slower avalanches sooner. This did not happen, so judging by the magnitude of the damage that had to be delivered rapidly to the building moments before the collapse, we conclude that the airplane impact could not have been a sole culprit for the catastrophe. Rather, we surmise that there was a wave of massive destruction (WMD) propagating throughout the building in the wake of which the avalanche formed. The WMD most likely started somewhere between the impacted floors and the middle of the building in a big explosion, which destroyed a number of floors to create a core of an avalanche. The WMD then propagated downwards destroying 70-90% of load-bearing capacity of the floors that were shortly thereafter consumed by the avalanche.

In other words, the scenario suggested by the 9/11 commission, where the building collapses in a single avalanche in the near-free-fall times, is physically impossible unless other sources of damage to the building are identified.

Finally, it is worth noting that the one-dimensional model presented here overestimates the energies involved in the motion of avalanche. That is, allowing the core of the avalanche to move in other two directions, as well, would open the paths for its kinetic and potential energy to be diverted into the tipping or the rotation of the top part. This would in turn decrease the energy available for destruction of the floors below. Additionally, in a multidimensional collapse/avalanche model the straight-down motion is unstable. Considering that the strongest part of WTC 2 was its center, a random change in the way the floors at the collapse front failed would have scattered the avalanche and disperse the collapse front. This stability question does not arise, however, if the building is pulled rather than pushed to the ground, which goes back to the hypothetical WMD.

Very interesting read

Very interesting read

Ha!, a very clever attack on the official party line :-)

Ha!, that's a very clever attack on the official party line issued by the government :-)

I don't have enough time + patience to go through all of the paper right now (and, admittedly, my command of physics formulae and mathematics has become a littly rusty since my High School days, although I'm confident I could follow all of it if I made the effort).

But from the first cursory view, you can see that it is "more scientific" than anything FEMA, NIST or the 9/11 Commission have published. And even its "look'n'feel" is very scholarly -- it does not deviate from other scientific papers which are commonly presented at conferences of peers (and it appears to have been typeset with the help of LaTeX...).

The choice of the author to avoid the stressing of the word "explosion" (he mentions it only once) and instead to come up with "wave of massive destruction (WMD)" is an ingenious way to fence off the immediate dismissal of his paper by the opposing camp as "product of a conspiracy theorist nuthead".

I'm looking forward to see how "the other camp" is going to deal with this paper. And how many straight thinking minds from the scientist community will be convinced by this paper to use their own brain, and start their own research....

Cheerio to Charles M. Beck for this job!

i feel similarly

but i should stress that i have NOT and possibly COULD not determine if the science is sound. I think it's interesting though that it exists, and on an online journal that is the focus of current arguments over the value of traditional peer-reviewed journals...


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force