On this day December 6, 1922

A ship in Halifax Harbour carrying trinitrotoluene (TNT) and picric acid caught fire after a collision with another ship and exploded, devastating Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

halifax_explosion_blast_cloudApproximately 2,000 people (mostly Canadians) were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings, and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured.

This is still one of the world’s largest man-made, conventional explosions to date.

At 8:40 in the morning, Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship which was chartered by the French government to carry munitions, collided with the unloaded Norwegian ship Imo (pronounced E-mo), chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to carry relief supplies.

Mont-Blanc caught fire ten minutes after the collision and exploded about twenty-five minutes later (at 9:04:35 AM). All buildings and structures covering nearly two square kilometres along the adjacent shore of the exploded ship were obliterated, including those in the neighbouring communities of Richmond and Dartmouth.

The explosion caused a tsunami in the harbour, and a pressure wave of air that snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and carried fragments of the Mont-Blanc for kilometres.

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