Small Chips in World Trade Center dust identified as unexploded Thermite

Small Chips in World Trade Center dust identified as unexploded Thermite

By Peter Duveen

PETER'S NEW YORK, April 4, 2009--A group of researchers says it has positively identified residues of undetonated explosives in dust samples collected soon after the collapses of three World Trade Center buildings on September 11, 2001. The positive outcome of tests carried out in painstaking detail appears to contradict the assertions by U.S. government experts that explosives were not used to take the buildings down.

The scientists examined small red and gray chips in four dust samples independently collected in the days and weeks after planes impacted the famous twin towers of the World Trade Center. The red portions of these chips were found to be primarily composed of iron oxide and metallic aluminum in a substrate of material made of silicon, oxygen, carbon and possibly hydrogen. A common incendiary called thermite relies on the reaction between iron oxide and metallic aluminum to achieve temperatures high enough to melt steel. The oxygen is transferred to the aluminum, reducing the iron to its metallic state in what is called an oxidation-reduction reaction. It is this incendiary, in an explosive form called "super thermite," that the scientists believe they have identified in the dust.

Using advanced techniques of chemical and physical identification, the scientists were able to determine the chemical identities of the components of the chips. When supplied with sufficient heat, the chips, which ranged in size from two tenths of a millimeter to three millimeters across, would ignite and explode, the researchers found. Byproducts of this reaction included iron spherules that are formed only when iron has vaporized and forms spherical droplets, which solidify upon cooling. These same iron spherules were present in World Trade Center dust, the scientists found. They established that commercially available thermite, when ignited, forms the same type of iron spherules. The scientists have thus claimed, in a peer-reviewed article published this month in The Open Chemical Physics Journal, that undetonated thermite, an incendiary or explosive, depending on how it is formulated, is present in significant quantities in World Trade Center dust. In a 25-page report, which goes into great detail about the composition of the chips, the scientists conclude that "the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material."

The discovery of what amounts to unexploded ordinance related to the collapse of the World Trade Center complex bolsters the case government critics have made that 9-11 was an "inside job" engineered by U.S. intelligence agencies and/or other factions within the government. Among the first to use the term "inside job" in connection with 9-11 was columnist Robert Novak only two days after the event, but more lately, the term has been adopted by a broad range of investigators. Critics of the government's explanation of that day--that 19 Arab "terrorists" divided into four teams, commandeered what the government claims were four aircraft that were subsequently flown into each of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania--insist that the government's story does not hold up under scrutiny. They point to the failure of the government to release crucial information that would substantiate or refute its version of the events. The government storyline was eventually incorporated into the 9-11 Commission Report released in 2004, a document which was later shown to incorporate major errors and omissions relating to the events it describes.

Government investigations and reports focusing on the collapse of the three largest World Trade Center buildings on 9-11 did not include forensic studies of the debris that would have positively identified the presence of incendiaries or explosive materials or their byproducts. Sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the reports contend that impacts of fuel-laden commercial airliners and the accompanying damage from those impacts were sufficient to explain the buildings' destruction, and that forensic tests were not and did not need to be conducted . Critics contend that the reports cover up the government's role, and say the manner in which the buildings fell--almost straight down and at free-fall or close to free-fall speed--could only have been effected by the sytematic detonation of explosives planted throughout the buildings.

Research into the possible use of thermite to bring down the Twin Towers was most vigorously championed in recent years by Steven E. Jones, one of the paper's co-authors and at one time a physics professor at Brigham Young University (BYU). His outspoken views prompted the university to force Jones into early retirement in 2006, although it appears that the university has since been instrumental in making available research tools that enabled Jones and other researchers to establish the existence of unexploded thermite in the World Trade Center dust. Two of the authors, Jeffrey Farrer and Daniel Farnsworth, are identified as current members of BYU's Department of Physics and Astronomy. The other authors are Neils H. Harrit of the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen; Kevin Ryan of the 9/11 Working Group of Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana; Frank M. Legge of Logical Systems Consulting, Perth, Australia; Gregg Roberts of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Berkeley, California; James R. Gourley of the International Center for 9/11 Studies, Dallas, Texas; and Bradley R. Larsen of S&J Scientific Co. of Provo, Utah, a firm with which Prof. Jones is also connected.

The government remains steadfast in its adherence to its explanation of the events of 9-11, incorporating it into its foreign policy objectives under the banner of an international "war on terror," which for the most part targets populations it has branded as Islamic terrorists. Critics of the government's version contend that, with a history of violent covert operations, a wide range of high tech weaponry at its disposal, and geopolitical mandates that required a seminal event such as 9-11 for their implementation, the U.S. government had ample motivation and means to carry out the complex set of attacks, using the hijacking storyline as its cover.

The government has not yet issued a statement reacting to the contents of the paper.

The paper, Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust From the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe, may be accessed at


(Original version with corrections and additions may be found at