Editorial | Published:

The Hell-Gate Explosion

    Naturevolume 32page575 (1885) | Download Citation



    PROBABLY the largest chemical mechanical experiment ever thought of was successfully performed last week in New York Harbour by the removal of the obstruction known as Hell Gate, or Flood Rock, a considerable-sized island, as stated by the papers, about nine acres in extent, in Long Island Sound. The agent employed for this immense engineering work is a preparation or preparations of nitro-glycerine, and there is no doubt that this is the only explosive compound which could have been used for the purpose on account of the very enormous quantity required and the peculiar nature of the explosion of this substance. All the compounds or preparations of nitro-glycerine produce by explosion what are known as local effects only, as distinguished from gunpowder, the effects of which are much more gradually developed on ignition, but extend, owing to the slower and larger wave of disturbance, to a much greater distance. The legitimate use of nitro-glycerine is for purposes such as this, where a disruptive action is required.

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