Why Did Iron Boil beneath the Rubble?
May 6, 2006
DAVIS, California -- In the days after 9-11, when he saw the light bluish smoke rising from the rubble of the World Trade Center, Thomas A. Cahill, an expert on airborne aerosols and director of the DELTA Group at the University of California at Davis, knew the plumes contained large amounts of the very smallest particles, the extremely toxic ultra-fine particles less than 1 one-millionth of a meter in size, and smaller. Unlike the much larger dust particles from the destruction of the twin towers, these ultra-fine and nano-particles are particularly hazardous because of their extremely small size, which allows them to pass throughout the body and penetrate into the nucleus of the human cell.
The plumes of bluish smoke that rose for weeks from the rubble of the destroyed World Trade Center contained unprecedented amounts of toxic ultra-fine particles which are created only when metal boils.
In the end of September 2001, Robert Leifer, a colleague from the Department of Energy's Environmental Measurement Laboratory in New York City contacted Cahill and asked him to send one of the DELTA Group's air monitoring devices known as the 8-stage rotating drum impactor. By October 2, 2001, the Davis air monitoring unit was set up on the lab's roof at 201 Varick Street at the edge of the "exclusion zone," about one mile north of the smoking rubble of the WTC. On top of the 12-story building, the unit was at an elevation of about 150 feet above street level, but lower than most of the surrounding buildings. The exclusion zone was the area around the WTC which had no electricity as a result of the destruction of the power plant that had existed under WTC 7. Cahill's air sampling began on October 2 and continued until late December, when the last fires were finally extinguished.
Asked why it took so long to begin a scientific evaluation of the air contamination that accompanied the destruction of the WTC, Cahill said he had assumed that there were scores of agencies and scientists monitoring the air quality in New York City after 9-11. "I assumed it was happening. I could not believe it was not," Cahill said. "It [the Davis drum] was all by itself. The EPA did nothing."
When Cahill went to New York City in January 2002, rather than welcome his effort to evaluate the toxicity of the city's air, an official with the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had but two questions for him: Who asked you to do it? Who's paying for it?
While Christine Todd Whitman, then administrator of the EPA, told New Yorkers that the air was safe to breathe in the days and weeks after 9-11, Cahill said there were enormous violations of standards that jeopardized the health of anyone exposed to the plumes coming from the rubble. Those most affected by the toxic smoke were the thousands of workers who labored on top of the rubble pile, he said.
In January, James Zadroga, a 34 year-old detective with the NYPD died of lung disease and mercury poisoning. Zadroga had spent hundreds of hours at Ground Zero working on recovery and cleanup at the site.
The conditions were "brutal" for people working at Ground Zero without respirators and slightly less so for those working or living in adjacent buildings, Cahill, a professor emeritus of physics and atmospheric science, said. "It was like they were working inside the stack of an incinerator," he said. "The debris pile acted like a chemical factory. It cooked together the components of the buildings and their contents, including enormous numbers of computers, and gave off gases of toxic metals, acids and organics for at least 6 weeks," he said.
The DELTA Group's work revealed the presence of extremely small metallic aerosols in unprecedented amounts in the plumes coming from the burning WTC rubble. Most of the particles in these plumes were in the category of the smallest ultra-fine and nano-particles: from 0.26 to 0.09 microns. The extraordinarily high level of ultra-fine aerosols was one of the most unusual aspects of the data, Cahill said. "Ultra-fine particles require extremely high temperatures," Cahill said, "namely the boiling point of the metal."
While Cahill said he was not aware of evidence confirming the existence of molten metal in the rubble of the WTC, his data showing high levels of ultra-fine particles in the smoke plume prove that incredibly intense hot spots, capable of boiling and vaporizing metals and other components from the debris, persisted beneath the rubble for weeks.
"As of 21 days after the attack, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running," Leslie Robertson, structural engineer responsible for the design of the WTC, said at the National Conference of Structural Engineers on October 5, 2001.
I reported in 2002 that pools of "literally molten steel" were seen in the basements of the collapsed twin towers and WTC 7 by contractors hired to remove the rubble. The official reports by NIST, FEMA, and the 9-11 Commission, however, omit any mention of the large quantities of molten metal observed in the basement areas of WTC 7 and the towers.
"The official reports do not adequately address the issue of molten metal found at the sites," Professor of Physics Steven E. Jones of Brigham Young University says, adding that this fact alone "provides compelling motivation for continued research on the WTC collapses."
Jones is the author of a scientific paper entitled "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" which posits an hypothesis, based on the physical and photographic evidence from the WTC, that aluminothermic steel cutting charges, such as Thermite, were used to cut the core columns in order to initiate the collapses of the three steel framed high-rise towers that fell on 9-11. Thermite reactions produce extremely high temperatures and create molten iron and aluminum oxide. Thermite at the WTC would explain the extreme hot spots that persisted in the rubble and the large amounts of molten metal.
The official version conspicuously fails to explain what caused these intense hot spots, which are clearly the culprits for both the ultra-fine particles found in the plumes and the pools of molten iron found in the basement. Cahill rules out the gravitational potential energy of the towers' collapse being the cause of the super-intense hot spots saying their potential energy was only capable of raising the entire mass of debris a few degrees. So why was iron boiling in the rubble of the WTC?
Using metallographic analysis, the 2005 NIST report from the WTC determined that there was no evidence that any of the steel samples they had examined had reached temperatures above 600 degrees C., well below the temperature of the red-hot pieces of metal that were seen being pulled from the rubble. However, by the time NIST began their study nearly all of the critical steel evidence from the WTC had already been melted down in Chinese steel mills, sold to them by Alan D. Ratner of Metal Management (Newark, NJ) who made $2.5 million by selling the crucial evidence of the greatest crime of mass murder in recent history to Shanghai smelters.