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Final report: No cause but three possibilities

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While federal investigators never determined the cause of the 1974 Apple Yard explosion, a 1975 report from the National Transportation Safety Board notes three possibilities:

  • A railcar coupler separation process that penetrated the tank holding monomethylamine nitrate.
  • Cavities created in the metal skin of the tank, followed by recompression within the monomethylamine nitrate.
  • Compression of an air bubble encapsulated in the monomethylamine nitrate or trapped in the air space at the top of the tank.

Monomethylamine nitrate is…

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