Boston’s Deadly Tsunami Of Molasses Of 1919 Mystery Solved

Posted: Nov 29 2016, 8:06am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Boston’s Deadly Tsunami of Molasses of 1919 Mystery Solved
Site where a tank containing millions of gallons of molasses erupted in Boston in January 1919. Image Credit: HistoryToday
  • The Molasses Deluge of 1919 was Very Destructive
 

Apparently the molasses deluge of 1919 that took place in Boston was very destructive. It caused a lot of damage which should not have taken place.

A large flood of molasses was let loose on the town of Boston in 1919. Every living thing in its path from human beings to horses got caught in its sticky goo. The results were deadly.

Over 21 people died and some 150 more suffered injuries. Even entire buildings were razed to the ground in the process. Now finally scientists have pieced together the puzzle regarding this deluge and why it proved to be so harmful in the first place. 

The colder temperatures may have caused the molasses to flow in a more slower and viscous state. Therefore whatever got in its grip was not to be rescued that easily.

The cleanup operation was thus a long drawn out affair. In 1919, a giant storage tank of molasses collapsed in the midst of Boston’s waterfront. Over 2.3 million gallons of molasses were released.

The wave from this flood of molasses was 25 feet in height. Molasses was normally used as a sweetener in those times. The wave engulfed Boston’s Commercial Street region within seconds, according to NYTimes

Everyone and everything was waste deep in molasses soon. It was hard to make out the life forms that were trapped beneath it. They struggled to be sure but it was all in vain. It had such a dense viscosity that it didn’t allow anyone to move an inch to the left or right. The living beings were trapped inside it like ants or wasps in amber. It became literally difficult to know whether the beings stuck in it were humans or animals. Scientists only began a study of this disaster last year. According to them, it all lies in the manner in which molasses flows.  

The weather reports of that year in history and other data were gathered by the researchers. The air temperature was 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The molasses supply had been brought in from the Caribbean. The winter air cooled it considerably. Once the tank gave way, the torrent was simply relentless. It was just like a giant alien blob that swept away so many living beings in its wake. The viscosity of the molasses increased by up to four times the normal levels. The tank was faulty to be sure. There was unethical designing behind it and so it failed to contain the molasses. By elucidating some of the factors responsible for the tragic mishap, scientists hope any similar future accidents in our enlightened age will be averted.   

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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