Rhode Island Beach Explosion: Scientists Identify The Cause Of Explosion At Salty Brine Beach

An explosion at Salty Brine Beach in Rhode Island stunned scientists and authorities alike. The Salty Brine Beach explosion sent a woman flying through the air and into a nearby jetty, fracturing her ribs. Beachgoers were evacuated after the explosion, but nearly two weeks would go by before an explanation for the mysterious explosion would be determined. An oceanographer was finally able to make the conclusion based on sand samples from the explosion area. So what caused the Salty Brine Beach explosion?

Initially, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management called for the Rhode Island state fire marshal's office to send out a bomb technician, as the source of the beach explosion that blew up through the sand and sent the woman flying remained uncertain. However, the bomb technicians found nothing to suggest the explosion was the result of a bomb. Therefore, the explosion remained a mystery.

Fortunately, it seems the mystery has finally been laid to rest by scientists studying the area. WMUR reports that samples of sand taken from the explosion site indicated unusually high levels of hydrogen. Therefore, it seems that a hydrogen gas build-up beneath the sand caused the explosion that erupted from the sand, injuring 60-year-old Kathleen Danise. The cause of the hydrogen gas build-up was determined to be from a corroding copper cable placed in the ground by the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to WHDH, the copper cable was previously used by the U.S. Coast Guard but was no longer in use when the incident took place. Eventually, the copper cable began to erode, causing a pocket of hydrogen gas to form. On July 11, 2015, with Kathleen Danise above the old cable, the gas finally combusted, sending the woman flying into a nearby rock jetty.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management said oceanographer Dr. Arthur Spivack made the conclusion after noting the high levels of hydrogen in the sand and finding the cable below. Since the cause of the explosion was determined, the U.S. Coast Guard has removed the old copper cable, and the beach is once again safe.

Do you think the U.S. Coast Guard should be held liable for the woman's injuries, or the Salty Brine Beach for not demanding the cable be removed after it was no longer in use?

[Image Credit: Twitter/ @BrianL423]