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The Science of the Great Molasses Flood
In 1919 a wave of syrup swept through the streets of Boston. Fluid dynamics explains why it was even more devastating than a typical tsunami.
"Send all available rescue vehicles and personnel immediately," he yelled, "there's a wave of molasses coming down Commercial Street!" More than 7.5 million liters of molasses surged through Boston's North End at around 55 kilometers per hour in a wave about 7.5 meters high and 50 meters wide at its peak. All that thick syrup ripped apart the cylindrical tank that once held it, throwing slivers of steel and large rivets in all directions. The deluge crushed freight cars, tore Engine 31 firehouse from its foundation and, when it reached an elevated railway on Atlantic Avenue, nearly lifted a train right off the tracks.
by Ferris Jabr
January 15, 2014
[More Results from scientificamerican.com]