Accident: Halifax explosion

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Accident: Halifax explosion Gender: N/A
born on 6 December 1917 at 09:04:35 (= 09:04:35 AM )
Place Halifax, Nova Scotia (CAN), 44n39, 63w36
Timezone AST h4w (is standard time)
Data source
Timed official source
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Liefeld
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 13°52' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 13°21 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 01°46'

Accident: Halifax explosion


The Halifax Explosion occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of December 6, 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, was involved in a collision with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. Approximately twenty minutes later, a fire on board the French ship ignited her explosive cargo, causing a cataclysmic explosion that devastated the Richmond District of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, and collapsed buildings, and it is estimated that nearly 9,000 others were injured. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, with an equivalent force of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT. In a meeting of the Royal Society of Canada in May 1918, Dalhousie University's Professor Howard L. Bronson estimated the blast at some 2400 metric tons of high explosive.

Mont-Blanc was under orders from the French government to carry her highly explosive cargo overseas to Bordeaux, France. At roughly 8:45 am, she collided at slow speed (1 to 1.5 miles per hour or 1.6 to 2.4 kilometres per hour) with the 'in-ballast' (without cargo) Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to pick up a cargo of relief supplies in New York. The resultant fire aboard the French ship quickly grew out of control. Without adequate and accessible firefighting equipment, the captain, pilot, officers and men were forced to abandon her within a few minutes following the accident. Approximately 20 minutes later (at 9:04:35 am), Mont-Blanc exploded with tremendous force.

Nearly all structures within a half-mile (800 m) radius, including the entire community of Richmond, were completely obliterated. A pressure wave of air snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and carried fragments of the Mont-Blanc for kilometres. Hardly a window in the city proper survived the concussion. Across the harbour, in Dartmouth, there was also widespread damage. A tsunami created by the blast wiped out the physical community of Mi'kmaq First Nations people that had lived in the Tuft's Cove area for generations. There were a number of casualties including five children who drowned when the tsunami came ashore at Nevin's Cove.

Link to Wikipedia: Halifax Explosion


Source Notes

CBC - Radio Canada website about the Halifax Explosion:

Disputes over time: seismograph record

"For many years after the Explosion there were arguments over the exact time it happened. Some people said it was 9:06, others 9:05 or 9:07. Some said it was definitely just before…or just after, or exactly at, 9 o'clock.

"The last word on the subject came from the seismograph at Dalhousie University. Its record was in storage for years, until researchers Alan Ruffman and David Simpson found it at a geological observatory in New York.

"The seismograph recording proves the explosion happened at 9:04:35, plus or minus 10 seconds. this allows for 0.57 seconds for the vibration to travel from the harbour to Dalhousie…and allows for the fact that the seismograph's clock was itself 10 seconds fast."


  • Mundane : Disasters : Accidents (Cargo ship explosion)