Shamelessly ripped off:
While the potential thermal energy in 1.5 million barrels of butane MIGHT be
equal to a hundred 15 KT warheads is debateable....it is however a LOT of
potential thermal energy. However because butane reacts at the molecular
level not the atomic level the energy release is much slower comparatively.
Also a nuclear fission event converts large portions of the fissile material
to energy....not all but a significant percentage. For 1.5 million barrels of
hydrocarbons to convert to energy would require MASSIVE amounts of oxygen
as part of the process. Not enough oxygen would be readily available at the
point of explosion to allow most of that butane to explode. What would
happen would be a portion of it would explode after it had reached the
correct fuel air ratio....the remaining butane escaping from the ground
would burn like a giant blow torch. Not a good event but not nearly
as bad as one might imagine. It's just not possible to convert all that
potential energy into real energy quickly at the molecular level.
Excelent explanation of why even if it opens up, it'll be BAD but not awesomely catastrophic...
Medic, remember that for an explosion there is a specific chemical concentration range REQUIRED to get an explosion....FAE/Hyperbaric explosions are a LOT trickier than folks would let on....PARTICULARLY in open air....
Good enough! Although I realize that the butane among other things is in the ground, the salt being liquified becomes a slurry and some is vetted or ventilated through this slurry, But yet it is also compressed. Butane like gas burns hot and fast and an explosive under compressed circumstances. What is to say that it won't explode in direct contact with an egniter of some type underground that is capable of causing it to ignite?
You bake with flour or 10X sugar, rignt? Does your kitchen explode if you are smoking and baking??? Remembering that we try for Low Earth Orbit with a number of Grain Elevators, with the wheat dust...
"Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it.
Unfortunately those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone ELSE repeats it."
Mookie War Creed
"I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."