Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, and Steven E. Jones - Published in "The Environmentalist"

(Another peer-reviewed paper in another scientific journal. Great job, guys!)

From Kevin Ryan;

Dear truth seekers,

My co-authors and I have a new article published today, in the Springer journal The Environmentalist. It is called 'Environmental anomalies at the WTC: evidence for energetic materials.'

Many thanks to the Bloomington 9/11 Working Group for help with the related FOIA, and to attorney Mick Harrison for his generosity in making the article freely available to all, instead of by subscription only.

In case you missed our last mainstream journal article, 'Fourteen points of agreement with official government reports...', here is a link to that paper.

And if you are one of those who is not wholly dependent on the mainstream, please see the many fine peer-reviewed articles at The Journal of 9/11 Studies (

My best to all,

Kevin Ryan

Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials

by Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, and Steven E. Jones
© The Author(s) 2008

Received: 17 February 2008 Accepted: 14 July 2008 Published online: 4 August 2008

Abstract Investigators monitoring air quality at the World Trade Center, after the September 11th attacks, found extremely high levels of volatile organic chemicals as well as unusual species that had never been seen before in structure fires. Data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicate striking spikes in levels of benzene, styrene, and several other products of combustion. These spikes occurred on specific dates in October and November 2001, and February 2002. Additionally, data collected by researchers at the University of California Davis showed similar spikes in the levels of sulfur and silicon compounds, and certain metals, in aerosols. To better explain these data, as well as the unusual detection of 1,3-diphenylpropane, the presence of energetic nanocomposites in the pile at Ground Zero is hypothesized.

1 Introduction

For months after the destruction at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 11th September, 2001, the fires at Ground Zero (GZ) could not be put out, despite the following facts.

  • Several inches of dust covered the entire area after the destruction of the WTC buildings.
  • Millions of gallons of water were sprayed onto the debris pile.
  • Several rainfall events occurred at GZ, some heavy; and
  • A chemical fire suppressant called Pyrocool was pumped into the piles (Lipton and Revkin 2001).

The characteristics of these un-extinguishable fires have not been adequately explained as the results of a normal structure fire, even one accelerated by jet fuel. Conversely, such fires are better explained given the presence of chemical energetic materials, which provide their own fuel and oxidant and are not deterred by water, dust, or chemical suppressants.

Apart from the extensive but failed efforts to extinguish the fires, there are several other physical indicators of the presence of energetic chemical reactions in the rubble at GZ. These include the following.

  1. Photographs and witness testimony evidencing molten metal and explosions accompanied by white dust clouds (Jones 2006; Meyerowitz 2006; PBS 2002).
  2. Extremely high temperatures in the fires at the WTC (Jones et al. 2008a).
  3. Unusual spikes in volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions, suggesting abrupt, violent fires on specific dates.
  4. Unusual species in the environmental monitoring data, also corresponding to specific dates.

Explosions followed by white dust clouds, and molten metal at GZ, are of particular interest in this analysis. A white dust cloud is one of the products of the thermite reaction. The white dust in this case is aluminum oxide, released from the extremely exothermic reaction between
aluminum and iron oxide. The other product of the thermite reaction is molten iron. These facts, coupled with evidence for extremely high temperatures at the WTC, suggest that investigators should examine the potential for such pyrotechnic materials at the WTC. The environmental data described below give more compelling evidence to support such an inquiry.

2 EPA data on VOC emissions from GZ

Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, access to environmental monitoring data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WTC response was obtained (EPA 2004). The data set shows that spikes in the levels of airborne VOCs occurred on specific dates at GZ (Austin Tobin Plaza, WTC 1 or WTC 2), with levels of the related contaminants rising sharply and then falling dramatically back to baseline levels, usually within 1 day or less. An example is shown in Fig. 1, for detections of benzene.

Benzene is a major product of the combustion of plastics and other organic materials. In a typical structure fire, when plastics are abundant, benzene levels have been seen at levels as high as 26 ppb (MOEE 1997). Apart from fires, benzene is seen in high-traffic areas of urban settings, with mean levels of *4 ppb (Crebellia et al. 2001).

Serious health consequences are known to occur when breathing benzene at 100 ppb, and it is known to cause diseases such as leukemia (HHS 2007). Note that, for the first few weeks after 9/11, the levels of benzene detected at GZ were relatively low, although perhaps higher than historical levels from structure fires. But the maximum value detected in November 2001 was 180,000 ppb, and the average daily detection for October and November 2001 was 18,000 ppb. The five peaks in benzene detection occurred on 5th October, 11th October, 3rd November, 8th November, and 16th November.

Similarly, the data for styrene are presented in Fig. 2.

The spikes in detected levels of styrene are more prominent. Styrene is normally seen as a product of the combustion of plastics, notably polystyrene. Interestingly, the dates of the five highest levels of styrene detection occurred on the same dates as those of highest detection of benzene.

A similar pattern in detection was noted in the data for several other analytes monitored by EPA in the air above the rubble piles at GZ. For example, toluene, ethylbenzene, and propylene follow the same pattern of spiked detection levels as seen above. These FOIA-obtained data indicate that all five of these VOCs were detected far above the levels published by EPA in their reports for the general public (Fig. 3, EPA 2002).

The occurrence of such extreme, sharp spikes in VOCs in air at GZ indicate something other than the behavior of a typical structure fire. Oxygen influx as a result of shifting of materials within the pile might have created an increase in combustion of material in localized areas. But these spikes in VOCs, at levels thousands of times higher than seen in other structure fires, suggest extremely violent but short-lived fire events.

Probably the most striking spike in toxic air emissions, found in EPA monitoring data, occurred on 9th February, 2002. Note (Table 1) that this was nearly 5 months after 9/11, and after nearly all the debris had been cleared from GZ. In fact, the levels of some species, like toluene and styrene, were some of the highest observed at the site. But the levels of benzene and propylene detected on that day were far above previous measurements, at 610,000 and
990,000 ppb, respectively. Other VOCs were measured at their peak levels on this date, including 1,3-butadiene at 400,000 ppb.

Article continues in PDF form here;



can someone put this in layman's terms?

i get that the article is relying on the EPA's data, and that it says ordinary fires can't explain the observed phenomena- but the presence of thermite and thermate may be able to. The details tend to make my head hurt- any insights put into language the rest of us can understand would be greatly appreciated.

I submitted this as a link to

9/11 Family Steering Committee Review of the 9/11 Commission Report:

Complete 9/11 Timeline


I think what this basically states is that there were some serious amounts of plastics and other materials that were vaporized by fire in the weeks and months following 9-11-01. What I have gathered from this is that the rubble was slowly sinking or that they were uncovering parts of the pile and certain parts of the building that were previously intact or unburned were suddenly flaring up, like when you turn the logs in a dying campfire. The amounts of plastics and solvents in the air is disturbing to say the least, especially since they lied so horrifically about the air quality. I am no scientist, I just thought maybe I could shed some light or open it up for a real expert to explain. Perhaps one of the fine, courageous gentlemen that wrote this amazingly concise piece of literature could "dumb it down" for the rest of us. Huge thanks to the Scholars and all of their tireless and diligent work. Please, keep hitting them where they are the weakest - in the brain.


... maybe it would only take the smallest of splinters from a toothpick, waved near their heart.

Is that why they travel in motorcades of twenty plus an ambulance?

It's basic: in the debris

It's basic: in the debris collected from the towers and WTC7 there is absolute evidence of the physical components of explosive demolition charges, along with vaporized steel particles furthering the conclusion of controlled demolition.

To anyone who now opposes you in exposing 911 Truth simply show them the peer reviewed article and tell them to put that in their pipe and smoke it.

LAYMAN TERMS ...loose nuke's question..

Loose Nuke, Here is my take in Layman lingo.
Ryan, Gourley & Jones got very, very clever !!! (Be glad these guys are on our side.) These guys slid in and emphasized the most dramatic & damning evidence of the extremely high temperatures by using a very clever method.
Don't worry about all the chemical names like benzene and other VOC's, or some of the chemical interactions. For the layman, they are just "very unhealthy chemicals" or "chemical interactions".
By using this data about the unhealthy chemicals, these guys (Ryan, Gourley, Jones) were able to present and emphasize all the startling information about the high temperatures. This would raise eyebrows for any scientist worth his salt.
These guys bring forth the crux of the startling information about the high temperatures in the introduction. They keep weaving into the paper supporting chemical evidence of thermite being used. At the Conclusion, they even present the possibility of super-thermite (nano-particle stuff) being used.
(Don't worry too much about the technical details of all the unhealthy chemicals involved or other type of chemical reactions.) These guys are sharp! They know the game!

There are a couple things that caught my personal interest.

There are a couple things that caught my personal interest. Some of the minor ones I won't mention.
---The EPA is still withholding data about ground zero and will not release it even under FOIA. Normally the EPA has reports available or published. This is striking.
--- 1,3-DPP and its tie-in with spray-on superthermite. -- This 1,3-DPP chemical was unusual. Even the EPA said that they had never seen anything like it in this abundant quantity.
"A review of the literature uncovers one interesting source of encapsulated 1,3-DPP that may help to explain much of the unusual environmental data...The synthesis of novel nanostructured materials has involved the use of 1,3-DPP" Then there is data about the superthermite and spray-on applications of superthermite and inference to this 1,3 DPP chemical. --These guys really know their chemistry and chemical interactions, and they also call for an analysis of the dust samples to see if thermite is present.

This is simply great news.

This is simply great news. Actually, it is very bad news because it pretty much proves that explosives were used in the demolition of the Trade Ceneter buildings and that could mean only one thing: Inside Job.

Great work Patriots


You all have my deepest respect and gratitude. Phenomenal job!

Paging, Dr. Chomsky . . .


"Who cares?", said Dr. Chomsky The Brilliant.

Print & Distribute

Many thanks gentlemen.

As well as being ideal material to send to academics in A4 format, this is good for general distribution. Copy the text into a program that can print out booklets, e.g. Open Office Writer, add the graphics, make an eye-catching title and a brief introduction to the independent scientific research effort.

I apologise if I'm repeating what's already being done.

I do a lot of 'bookletting'. The public need informed and well-researched material like this; they just don't yet realise how badly they need it.

The silence...

The silence is deafening on the "debunker" forums... ;)

actually, if "Screw Loose Change" is any indication...

The debunkers have long ceased bringing up any points truly backing up their position. They seek - and sometimes find - faults in some of the arguments various truthers make. But it has been a long time since they were actually stating, "Well, here's what we believe, and here's why."

Boris Epstein

"SLC" has sprung to life...

... and produced the following response:

Which, in my humble opinion, is quite pathetic and does not even state that the main thesis of the paper is wrong, limiting itself to attacking just one aspect of the paper providing no substantive argument.

Boris Epstein

Found an old one


I AM a chemist, and I once worked under contract to ICI in the UK on the thermal degradation of polymers....

Thermal degradation of PVC yields mainly benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, and various chlorobenzenes.

All of these species were detected by the EPA in air samples taken at various locations in NYC after 9-11.

Thermal degradation of POLYSTYRENE yields styrene, alpha-methylstyrene and 1,3-diphenylpropane.

The EPA web-site on air-sampling at NYC includes data for styrene, but curiously does NOT list data for 1,3-diphenylpropane. (However, I believe this may be simply because this compound is not on the EPA's "priority pollutant" list)

NIST and others have noted that TONS PLASTICS burned in the Twin Towers and the rubble pile during and long after 9-11.

Polystyrene was surely one of those plastics! (By the way, the quote about 1,3-diphenylpropane being associated with PVC appears to be in error. I suspect the person meant polystyrene!)

So I would say that Prof. Jones, once again, has found something in a sample from the WTC site that can be explained WITHOUT INVOKING thermite/thermate


We noted in the paper

that polystyrene was a suggested source of the styrene and 1,3-DPP. If the "debunker" at physorg had thoroughly read the paper and then been honest about it, seems he would have noted this in the paper. And of course, there are the other spikes observed in the data by Kevin Ryan. EDIT: Oops, I see now that sittingbull quoted a comment from 2006 about 1,3DPP -- obviously not about our paper just published... Hopefully the debunker in question will read our paper now for further elucidation. Sittingbull, when you quote an "old" comment, pls give the date...

BTW, Kevin is the first author, not me!!

This paper in the The Environmentalist was several months in the peer-review process, and I can say that two professors were reviewers -- and one was a stickler! Which is good... resulted in improvements in the paper during the peer-review process.

Meanwhile, we are busy doing research and writing further papers... for submission to established technical journals. So I will focus on those technical papers rather than responding at this time to debunkers who evidently have not thoroughly read what we have published in peer-reviewed journals!

If they have something serious to say, they should write a response paper and submit to the same (or another) peer-reviewed journal.

an excellent article!

It is actually starting to look, more and more, like the investigation into what truly took place on 9/11 is proceeding, even fi slowly. But that is still remarkable given how strong the forces involved in obfuscation, coverup and obstruction are.

Boris Epstein

In short,

this great work by Ryan et al summons the evidence of air borne chemicals after the collapses, showing that the hitherto unexplained presence of unusual chemicals and quantities were most likely caused by thermate, reacting to the disturbance of the clean up work with short intense fires the following months.

By weighing the released chemicals from the thermate reaction, the paper also supports Jones' earlier findings that the thermate was in a paint type form.

The STJ team are still hypothesising in the scientific way that they have to, but the hard physical evidence proving the presence of nano-thermate is for all intents and purposes now overwhelming and irrefutable.

The only thing remaining is an investigation into how Al Qaeda managed to paint the columns with thermate and set it off. (and why they had to do it to WTC 7 as well..) ;)


Thanks again all for shedding further light

About the peer review

Congratulations! I've almost read it through. Looks good.

As many Wikipedia editors and other defenders of the official conspiracy theory are likely to argue that the article was not *properly* peer-reviewed - cf. their treatment of the "14 Points of Agreement..." article on the Talk page of Wikipedia's WTC 7 article - any links to documentation about the way in which "The Environmentalist" reviews the articles it publishes would be appreciated.