Engineer Sees Evidence of Extreme Temperatures in WTC Steel

A structural engineer who was a member of the team assembled by the American Society of Civil Engineers to investigate the World Trade Center site after 9/11 has described numerous phenomena indicating extremely high temperatures suffered by the WTC structural steel. This appears to be further evidence that high-temperature explosives, such as thermate, were used to bring down the towers.

Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, who specializes in studying structural damage done by earthquakes and terrorist bombings. He flew to New York on September 19, 2001 to conduct a two-week reconnaissance of the collapsed towers, hoping to gain an understanding of how they'd come down. He was able to examine numerous pieces of steel taken from Ground Zero. [1]

He said the towers were exceptionally well designed and built, describing the WTC as "the best-designed building I have ever seen." [2] Yet the structural steel had suffered unusual warping and other major damage:

  • Astaneh-Asl said that steel flanges "had been reduced from an inch thick to paper thin." [3]
  • At a recycling center in New Jersey, he saw 10-ton steel beams from the towers that "looked like giant sticks of twisted licorice." [4] He showed the San Francisco Chronicle a "banana-shaped, rust-colored piece of steel" that had somehow "twisted like toffee during the terrorist attack." [5]
  • He noted the way steel from the WTC had bent at several connection points that had joined the floors to the vertical columns. He described the connections as being smoothly warped, saying, "If you remember the Salvador Dali paintings with the clocks that are kind of melted--it's kind of like that." He added, "That could only happen if you get steel yellow hot or white hot--perhaps around 2,000 degrees." [6]
  • In an interview in 2007, Astaneh-Asl recalled, "I saw melting of girders in [the] World Trade Center." [7]
  • He found a foot-long twisted shard of steel that was "like a piece of bread, but it was high-strength steel." He commented, "I haven't seen anything like this [before]." [8]
  • He came across "severely scorched [steel] members from 40 or so floors below the points of impact [by the planes]." [9]
  • The fireproofing that had been used to protect the WTC steel also showed evidence of extreme conditions. In some places it had "melted into a glassy residue." [10]
  • Astaneh-Asl saw a charred I-beam from WTC Building 7--a 47-story skyscraper that collapsed late in the afternoon of 9/11, even though no plane hit it. "The beam, so named because its cross-section looks like a capital I, had clearly endured searing temperatures. Parts of the flat top of the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized." [11]

These observations indicate that the World Trade Center steel was subjected to very high temperatures. Yet, while postulating that the towers collapsed due to fire (and without the use of explosives), even Thomas Eagar--an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology--admitted, "The temperature of the fire at the WTC was not unusual, and it was most definitely not capable of melting steel." [12] One must conclude that the phenomena observed by Astaneh-Asl are therefore highly suspicious.

It may well have been because it offered such revealing clues that the remaining structural steel from the World Trade Center was so rapidly destroyed, being shipped abroad as scrap to be melted down and recycled. CBS News described: "The [cleanup] operation--which began days after the collapse, okayed by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani--goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, Astaneh has almost certainly missed seeing crucial pieces before they were cut up and sent overseas." [13] As the New York Times reported, the steel scrap was worth "only a few million dollars, a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars the cleanup" was going to cost. Yet the knowledge that could have been gained from it "could save lives in a future disaster." [14]

[1] Kenneth Chang, "Scarred Steel Holds Clues, and Remedies." New York Times, October 2, 2001; Robert Sanders, "Report from Ground Zero." Berkeleyan, October 3, 2001; Jeffrey R. Young, "Scholars Work to Rebuild the World Trade Center Virtually." Chronicle of Higher Education, December 7, 2001.
[2] Keay Davidson, "Berkeley Professor Seeks the Safer Skyscraper." San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2001.
[3] Robert Sanders, "Report from Ground Zero."
[4] Jeffrey R. Young, "Scholars Work to Rebuild the World Trade Center Virtually."
[5] Keay Davidson, "Berkeley Professor Seeks the Safer Skyscraper."
[6] Jeffrey R. Young, "Scholars Work to Rebuild the World Trade Center Virtually."
[7] "Collapse of Overpass in California Becomes Lesson in Construction." NewsHour, PBS, May 10, 2007.
[8] Pamitha Reynolds, "Berkeley Prof Analyzes Structural Damage of the WTC." Berkeley Daily Planet, October 20, 2001.
[9] David Kohn, "Culling Through Mangled Steel." CBS News, March 12, 2002.
[10] Kenneth Chang, "Scarred Steel Holds Clues, and Remedies."
[11] Ibid.
[12] Thomas W. Eagar and Christopher Musso, "Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation." Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society 53 (12) 2001: 8-11.
[13] David Kohn, "Culling Through Mangled Steel."
[14] Kenneth Chang, "Scarred Steel Holds Clues, and Remedies."

Outstanding work

Thank you for bringing this to our attention and especially thanks for the effort you put into your summary and the hyyperlinks. This is very valuable stuff.

Have you forwarded this to ae911truth or patriotsquestion?

Video clips of Astaneh

No, but hopefully they visit 911Blogger, so will see these quotes here.

I've also uploaded a couple of video clips to YouTube, of Astaneh-Asl discussing the WTC steel. These are both taken from The Learning Channel's documentary "World Trade Center: Anatomy of the Collapse":

Learning Channel a 9/11 Truth resource?

The main text read well to me, but those 2 clips seemed ambiguous at best.

My memory varies some these days, but I thought the Learning Channel had long been identified as a disinformation source.

And a random look at Footnote 9 from 2002 (above), suggests the Professor is buiding evidence for the "Fires brought the towers down" theories:

"But when the planes penetrated the buildings, they injected tens of thousands of gallons of extremely flammable jet fuel into each tower. "You just brought in very carefully a large amount of fuel, completely," he says. "Then let’s ignite it."

Fires don't melt or vaporize steel

And Astaneh-Asl should know that. Does anyone have his contact information?

No, but incendiaries like thermate/thermite do.

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here:

The plane did "nothing" to this building

“‘The [plane] impact did nothing to this building,’ he said with admiration.” CNN News, Oct 5, 2001.

Shoestring, good piece, but did you catch this source?

"The professor at the University of California at Berkeley said preliminary evidence indicates the structures withstood the impacts of the planes.

Astaneh-Asl drew that conclusion after coming across clues like a steel support 1.5 inches thick from around the elevator shaft in the center of one of the towers.

A semi-circular chunk of the support is gone. "It looks like a big bullet passed through here," he said.

Judging by the curve of the chunk, that bullet, he said, was most likely the nose of a Boeing 767.

Despite the fact that 40 percent of the steel beam was torn away, the column did not collapse, an example of redundancy built into the 1970s-vintage structure. "The impact did nothing to this building," he said with admiration."

"The plane did nothing to this building" + "there was molten steel"... kind of like 1 + 1 =...

Arabesque: 911 Truth

This was high-grade steel

that had been certified by UL Laboratories. This steel was subjected to 2000 degree F. blast testing for 3 hours without losing structural integrity (strength), so how could 1 hour jet fuel fires with a max. burning temp. of 1795 F. account for these anomalies? THEY CAN'T.

(BTW, does anyone have samples of the fireproofing... That melted into a "glassy residue?" That could be a smoking gun in itself since fireproofing provides at least 2 hours of protection from fire.)

Again, even if ALL fireproofing was knocked off-- which is a preposterous assumption on a 110 story building, and even if the fires were burning at maximum temp.-- which even Eagar isn't saying, it still would not have mattered.

Question: When Chief Palmer said there were "2 isolated pockets of fire" and they needed "2 lines to knock them down," did that mean that there were 2 isolated pockets of fire burning in the entire S. Tower (as "911 Mysteries" implies) or merely on that floor? I thought that it was for the entire building, but someone challenged me on that point, saying it was just for HIS floor. Are there similar radio communications from other firemen reporting fires blazing on various other floors of the S. Tower?

Merely that floor

I think the 78th was the first floor that he reached that had an active fire. There is no indication that he got past that floor.

However, fires were visible from the outside, on other floors above the 78th.

The 78th floor was key, because that was where the aircraft


More info about Chief Palmer & the impact zone in this article:

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here:

Can anyone tell me

What happened to the ripped spandrel plate on the left side of the picture?

Sure looks like what they are describing?


Boiling point is necessary to vaporize lead?

1Sorry I should have questioned in the relevant thread, and not too late.
was too late.)

What I'd like to know (as a non-expert) is whether the boiling point (1740 °C) is necessary for lead to vaporize, or as cited from the RJ Lee report, to volatilize, oxidize, and condense on the surface of the mineral wool. I suppose not only lead but (most) materials (eg. water) vaporize at temeratures well below their boiling points, and I've found a report about metal recovery from solid waste to say that lead isn't condensed and exists in the gas phase above 600 °C in waste incinerators (calculated for the thermodynamic equilibrium conditions).
Thus I'm uncertain about the minimum temperature for lead to condense or about whether the vapor pressure close to or above 1 atm is necessary for lead to condense on the surface of something in the WTC fire conditions or in the rubble pile.
As for the vesicular aluminosilicate particle, the boiling is indicated by its vesicular or "Swiss cheese" appearance.

I understand any kind of fire-induced WTC collapse model is already (or rather from the begining) lame-duck, and this wouldn't generally be affected by the above argument at all, but I want to be properly confident in what I'm saying when I debate with some diehard proponents of the official story.

Bravo for softened steel and pancakes?

Checking the footnotes:
Footnotes 1, 10, 11, and 14 are redundant, as are 2 & 5, 4 & 6, and 9 & 13. And, like all but 7, they refer to the 2001-2002 OCT fire/pancake theory. The only recent one [7] from 2007 (see below) still has Prof. Astaneh-Asl supporting fuel-fired structural collapses.

Footnotes [1, 10. 11. 14] 10/2001
[from news text] One piece Dr. Astaneh-Asl saw was a charred horizontal I-beam from 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story skyscraper that collapsed from fire eight hours after the attacks. The beam . . . had clearly endured searing temperatures. Parts of the flat top of the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized.
[Sounds interesting. Until the very next paragraph]:
"Less clear was whether the beam had been charred after the collapse, . . . or whether it had been engulfed in the fire that led to the building's collapse. . ."

Footnotes [2, 5] 10/22/01:
[from news text]: A fluff piece spouting, "When terrorists rammed two airplanes into the towers, burning jet fuel gushed into the structures. The blaze heated and weakened their steel beams. Soon both towers collapsed like souffles," with Prof. Astaneh-Asl suggesting that, " the towers might have withstood the attack had they been reinforced properly with 6-inch-thick concrete-and-steel shear walls" [his new design theory].

Footnotes [3, 9] 10/22/01
"Steel flanges had been reduced from an inch thick to paper thin, Astaneh said. He and others suspect that the buildings collapsed because the intense heat of the jet-fuel-fed fire softened the steel to the point that the columns no longer could support the weight of the floors above. As the top 10 or so stories fell, they collapsed the floors below in a cascade of pancaking concrete floor slabs."

Footnotes [4, 6] "He says the buildings might have survived the plane crashes if the ensuing jet-fuel fires had not weakened the upper floors and started a "pancaking collapse."
[5] See 2
[6] See 4
[7] See below
[8] Another plug for Prof. Astaneh-Asl's "disaster-safe building design", where he says the towers' structural columns, "withstood the original impact of the planes [and] remained structurally sound until the heat of flaming jet fuel reached 1,000 degrees Celsius and began to melt the steel. The softened columns could no longer support the floors above, and the entire structure began to collapse.
Footnotes [9, 13] 3/12/2002 - Some good words about lack of WTC forensic investigation, but also, "the towers would very likely still be standing had the impact been the only damage. But when the planes penetrated the buildings, they injected tens of thousands of gallons of extremely flammable jet fuel into each tower." Then he goes on to push his new building design ideas followed by the official pancaking floors theory.
[10] See 1
[11] See 1
[12] No Prof. Asteneh-Asl mention, just a 2001 JOM (Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society) piece by NIST's Eagar, and reference to a 2007 update
[13] See 9

Fast-forward to 2007 and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge collapse, from gate-keeper PBS's News Hour:
Footnote [7], 5/10/2007
Here Prof. Astaheh-Asl compares the gasoline-fired bridge collapse to the jet fuel 9/11 fires, saying "In both of them, basically, the fire was the reason why steel got soft and weak and collapsed."

[Sounds like Prof. Astaneh-Asl is still the "fireman" from 2001-2002.]

Really great article!

Terrific research. Incisive and to the point. Bravo indeed!

astaneh-asl contact and comments

According to his website he can be reached at

Despite his observations he has not challenged the official fire/gravity theory, so I would urge against including him on He would however make an excellent target for A&E to approach, especially as he is in the bay area. I will recommend this to Richard.

For factual accuracy, he was not on the ASCE team. His funding was through the National Science Foundation. This is all the more reason to be optimistic about approaching him, he doesn't have as much to hide.

"Once the collapse initiated, the video evidence is rather clear. It was not stopped by the floors below. So there was no calculation that we did to demonstrate what is clear from the videos."
-John Gross, National Institute of Scientific Treason

Robert Moore has already

corresponded with him (maybe 6 months ago).

Robert, if you read this, maybe you could fill people in

on the outcome of your correspondence.

and this...

Can we get a link please....

for the source to these original quotes:
"Astaneh-Asl said that steel flanges "had been reduced from an inch thick to paper thin." [3]"

"Parts of the flat top of the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized." [11]"
Thanks guys,

Links to sources

I put links to all the source articles at the end of my posting. The sources for the two quotes you mention are:

Thanks Shoestring....

for the links.

Don't get me wrong..

I think your doing good work, I am also convinced that the Towers got demolished but :

Combined with the fact that we can not establish chain of custody because the crime-scene was immediately
disturbed, contaminated, dismantled with blow-torches and shipped to China. .

There are more images like that on the site ,
in fact there are some very interesting images with EXIF-data intact and in original quality on that site .
If anybody knows of a source for images BEFORE the evidence-destruction started I would be very interested in a link or something .
FEMA's gotta have a whole bunch of them but they don't seem to make anything prior to the "clean-up" available.. surprise, surprise !
"Listen carefully now : DO NOT DESTROY OIL-WELLS" Dubya

The Bocadigital site

has some of the best pictures I've been able to find and the best documentation.

Here's a couple of more links with good pics from the first week or so that may be useful: