what to make of "conspiracy theories"?

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Wed Feb 13 18:00:17 MST 2002

>>Three government studies (two U.S., one Canadian; all done prior to Sept.
11) I have all put the temperature of an open-air kerosene fire between
300-500 degrees Centigrade -- far less than the 1583 degrees C needed to
melt steel. Also, kerosene boils while it burns, so usually the fires don't
last very long.<<

The temperature at which steel MELTS is not the important one. The important
one is the temperature at which steel begins to soften, which is 425 degrees
centigrade; by the time it reaches 650 degrees centigrade, it has lost half
its strength. The other important temperatures to take into account it the
gradient between the hottest and coldest part of a structural member which
will cause it to bend out of shape, i.e., to buckle.

The most exacting scientific examinations of the issue I've read indicate it
was the combination of these two factors, on top of the structural damage
caused by the planes themselves, which most likely led to the collapse. The
mechanism of the collapse is believed to have been the collapse of one or
more  floors immediately above the fire, leading to a domino effect of
collapses which would have led to the sides of the building also coming

As to what temperature the fire may have reached inside the towers, that is
highly speculative. The theoretical maximum of an open flame fire getting
oxygen from the air is about 1000 degrees centigrade, given the fuel here.
It COULD have been that hot. It was probably significantly lower, but it
would not have been as low as a small, completely open air fire for obvious
reasons -- the heat trapping characteristics of the structure and of  the
sooty black smoke it generated, as well as the size of the inferno you get
when you ignite 30,000 gallons of jet fuel. If the heat can't be dissipated
quickly enough, the temperature will climb towards 1,000 degrees until some
sort of equilibrium is reached.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Schreader" <mschreader at npns.org>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 9:15 AM
Subject: Re: what to make of "conspiracy theories"?

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