Talk:Halifax Explosion

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Donald Crowdis[edit]

this guy should be linked here:Donald Crowdis

Blast Wave[edit]

"and the pressure wave reportedly knocked a soldier off his feet in Cape Breton Island (minimum distance 205 km east)" not to belittle the event, because it was a massive explosion, but I think this is more of an anecdote than a fact. The pressure wave would have to sustain itself for roughly 10 minutes at 1,235 km/h (roughly supersonic or speed of sound, which would be the longest reaching force wave). Cape Breton is rather far away, and that just doesn't add up! WarBaCoN 10:58, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree, this struck me as odd, especially noting the explosion was heard from a maximum distance of 175km. Since the pressure wave is in fact just a powerful sound wave, the maximum distance the is wierd would have been heard must have been at least equal if not far greater. The figure may be 25km, but 205 is somewhat unrealistic. A reference would help settle the matter :) -L3p3r 09:31, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

The pressure wave traveled through the earth at a speed of 13,320 mph (23X the speed of sound). People on Cape Breton reported hearing a low boom which would be the sound of the pressure wave passing under them. Perhaps a startled soldier felt the vibration and tripped.--tgpaulNY —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 04:56, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


Hi The picric acid entry says it should be stored wet, becaues -otherwise- it is highly susceptible to shock...maybe a correction is in order? Madcynic 12:14, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

It was stored wet but the extreme heat from the fire dried the picric acid and the gun cotton make them highly explosive.--tgpaulNY

Norwegian or Belgian?[edit] is unsure about the fact wether the Imo was Norwegian or Belgian. Which is correct? --Martin

The museum in Halifax says it's a Norwegian ship heading for Belgium, which makes sense. It's also cited in John Irving's latest novel 'Until I find You' --- EgbertB

This issue came up again so I added a line with source explaining the Norwegian ownership but Belgium contract. Letterofmarque (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 01:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)


Is 300 rounds of ammunition correct? It seems so much smaller than the quantities of the other items. --rmhermen

Really TNT? I don't think it was in widespread use in WWI, not even sure it had been invented then. In any case it doesn't usually detonate as a result of fire, it just burns. From other sources read and forgotten long ago, i think the main explosion may have been due to Ammonium Nitrate, a cheap chemical widely used as fertiliser, and in civilian explosive applications. This forgotten source said the freighter was carrying perhaps thousands of tons of the stuff, which is about what would be needed to cause such a large explosion.

I did some fact-checking: 300 rounds is correct. And the TNT is also correct. It's likely that what you read about ammonium nitrate was refering to the chemical being mixed with the TNT; see -- Stephen Gilbert

Either way the explosion caused by the Ammonium Nitrate would likely provide enough ignition energy to set off the TNT. -L3p3r 09:32, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

The ship carried no ammonium nitrate. It carried picric acid which exploded because of the fire. The picric acid detonated the dry gun cotton and the TNT. --tgpaulNY —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 04:33, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


There are two pages about the Halifax Explosion. How should one merge the two pages to provide tidy results? -- BillBell

The two pages are Halifax explosion and Halifax Explosion.
That merger's been done already, but currently there is also a vote to incorporate the Imo article into the current one. Any opinions? I vote yes. Crisco 1492 21:43, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Halifax explosion inconsistencies[edit]

There seem to be some inconsistencies in the statistics, perhaps as a result of merging the two pages.

  • Over 2,700 tons of explosives vs. 5 tons of benzol + 10 tons of guncotton + 2,300 tons of picric acid + 400,000 pounds of TNT (= 2,515 tons of explosives).
  • Over 2.5 square kilometers leveled vs. 325 acres (= 1.3 km²) of the town destroyed.
  • 1,635 deaths vs. 1,000 people killed immediately and over 2,000 within a year
  • Five to six thousand injuries vs. 9,000 people injured

Cjmnyc 07:23 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

one Wikipedia entry gives the following load for Mont Blanc:
   #  5 tons (4.5 metric tonnes) of benzol
   # 300 rounds of ammunition
   # 10 tons (9 tonnes) of gun cotton
   # 2300 tons (2100 tonnes) of picric acid (explosive)
   # 400,000 pounds (180 tonnes) of TNT

and another entry gives these numbers:

   * 5 tons (4.5 t) of benzol
   * 300 rounds of ammunition
   * 122,960 pounds (56 t) of gun cotton
   * 2300 tons (2300 T) of picric acid (explosive)
   * 4,661,794 pounds (2,115 t) of TNT

The Nova Scotia government website on the Halifax explosion details the following cargo on Mont Blanc:

   * 35 tons of benzol
   * 300 rounds of ammo
   * 61 tons of guncotton
   * 2300 tons of picric acid
   * 200-225 tons of TNT

The discrepency between the three sources is largest in regards to TNT: one source claims almost 5 million pounds of TNT on board Mont Blanc while others are content with @ 400 thousand. Taking the numbers from the local government, the explosion at Port Chicago in 1944, involving the detonation of at least 5000 tons of munitions, seeems to be the bigger non-nuclear event. The death toll and over all destruction of Halifax was larger due to factors of population and geography.

It's incorrect to say that this event caused the highest single-day casualties on North American soil between the Battle of Antietam in 1862 and the September 11 attacks. The Battle of Gettysburg (in 1863) left a minimum of 8,000 dead over 3 days; I don't know the day-by-day breakup, but on at least one of those days the casualty toll must, mathematically, have exceeded 1,635. And then there's Pearl Harbor, with 2,403 dead; the Battle of Chancellorsville, 1863, with 2,358 dead on the bloodiest day of the battle; the Galveston Hurricane in 1900, which killed around 8,000 people in one day; etc. (Source)

Some more data (I'm not the author of the text above):

[1] [2] [3]
benzol 35 tons (32t) 35 tons (32t) 223,188 kg (223t)
ammo - - -
gun cotton 10 tons (9t) 61 tons (55t) 56,301 kg (56t)
picric acid 2300 tons (2087t) 2300 tons (2087) 1,602,519 kg
+ 544,311 kg (sum:2147t)
TNT 200 tons (181t) 200 tons (181) 226,797 kg (227t)
Sum 2545 tons (2309t) 2596 tons (2355t) (2653t)


[4]: 2766 t of picric acid, TNT and guncotton.
[5]: over 2,500 tons of benzol fuel, TNT, picric acid and gun cotton (over 2270t)

The Mont Blanc was a ~3000 ton ship, so any number larger than 2800t is unrealistic. - Alureiter 16:10, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I've just changed the numbers according to those I found above, taken from all external web sites we point to. - Alureiter 16:26, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

who was the hero of the explosion??

Where are these numbers now? I can't find any tonnages in the article, let alone an explanation of different reports about it. (talk) 09:42, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

PD images[edit]

There are some great PD images of the destruction here:

Quadell (talk) (sleuth) 21:32, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

Largest man-made non-nuclear explosion?[edit]

If you read again you will see it says it is AMONG 1 of the worlds larges man made explosions

After WWII, the British occupation forces placed 4,000 surplus torpedo warheads, nearly 9,000 depth charges and over 91,000 artillery shells in the tunnels and bunkers of Heligoland, altogether about 6,700 t (british accounts: 8,952,961 lbs) of explosives, and detonated them on [18 April]] [[1947] to destroy the island. Well the British Bang failed, the rock was tougher than expected, but IMHO and according to some sources ([6], [7], [8]) that was the largest non-nuclear, man-made explosion so far. - Alureiter 17:52, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Also, how can one claim that the Halifax Explosion even counts as the largest non-nuclear manmade explosion? The Texas City Disaster involved 7700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. That's a heck of a lot more explosive potential. Of course, it only killed 581 people. Rei 18:02, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Ammonium nitrate is just an oxidizer, also since it was for agricultural use it was only concentrated to about 35% (according to the article). The explosion is estimated to be equivalent to 2-4kt (article) of TNT, which would be about as large, as the Halifax explosion (found 2.5kt and 3kt), but see below. (Strange coincidence: Both times a french vessel exploded..).
Here's what's stated in Ground Zero:A Reassessment of the 1917 explosion in Halifax by Alan Ruffman and Colin D. Howell:
  • Texas City: 1.3kt
  • Port Chicago disaster: 1.7kt (this time no french ship ;))
  • Halifax: 3kt
  • Heligoland: 4.2kt
(second hand information, I don't have that book)
Oh, BTW, we have a List of the largest non-nuclear explosions article.

I think the reason that the Heligoland explosion is often overlooked is because the explosion was largely underground. the explosion there, as far as I know, didn't actually kill anybody. the halifax explosion did.

Another reason that Heligoland might often be overlooked is that it was, technically speaking, a detonation. Explosion implies that it was a single explosion, and not a series of explosions, as was the Heligoland. So although the overall blast created by the Heligoland explosion may be more powerful, Halifax Explosion was a single blast, rather than a series of ones.

Don't forget the RAF Fauld explosion as well, by pretty much every account I can find it was the largest man-made explosion at the time (obviously before heligoland and the nukes). (talk) 01:44, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I reviewed the book Ground Zero: A Reassessment of the 1917 explosion in Halifax edited by Alan Ruffman and Colin D. Howell which is a pretty detailed comparision by historians and scientists of 130 conventional explosions which was presented at a scholarly conference: a good example of a wikipedia verifiable and reputable source. They still ranked Halifax as the biggest by an overall measure (power, radius, lives lost, destruction) but did conclude measuring such explosions is difficult. I have summarized their conclusions in the article with footnotes and links. Letterofmarque (talk) 03:31, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

The map is US-centric[edit]

According to the map, this "Halifax" is somewhere in a place called "Nova Scotia". From the lack of a map of the world indicating where this "Nova Scotia" is, I assume it is propably in the US. This is in fact something that irks me with many Wikipedia maps - As soon as something is placed in the US, everyone all over the world is supposed to know every hinterland village in the US...

It clearly states in the first line that Halifax is in Canada. There are also links at the bottom of the page to canadian atlas sites for more complete maps. Jack 10:38, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Still, the map doesn't make it immediately apparent to those who are visual learners. Also, it is disorienting since one part is on a standard north to south orientation, while the other appears to have been rotated. I added a new map that hopefully fixed that. Crisco 1492 22:18, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Just curious. Is there a rationale for the removal of a map showing the location of Halifax? Doesn't matter which one, as long as it shows a) Halifax's location in Nova Scotia and b) A general location of Halifax globally. I believe it would aid visual learners being able to glance exactly where it happened, rather than having to read blah blah Nova Scotia, Canada, blah blah East Coast... it's a little easier, I believe. Crisco 1492 08:36, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree, a map would be useful. It took me a while to find the precise location in Google Earth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thatfield977 (talkcontribs) 16:52, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Which ship was leaving?[edit]

Which ship arrived at the entrance from outside? In this article it's the Mont Blanc. But in the German version of the Halifax-Explosion they say the Mont Blanc wanted to leave!! I think that makes more sense. Why should a french ship bring ammunition to Canada? So please check.

The "official" story at also has Mont Blanc leaving and Elmo entering. - Alureiter 11:32, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Just to clarify that says the Mont Blanc was leaving the harbour to join the convoy in the basin. The basin is the most inland part of the harbour and still technically part of it, so the Mont Blanc was in fact entering, not really leaving. The Imo had departed the basin and was heading out to sea. The article is poorly worded for anyone who is not aware of the geography of Halifax Harbour.  :)


The Imo was leaving, and the Mont Blanc was entering (due to the submarine nets). 00:36, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

The Mont Blanc had spent the previous night outside the harbor because it arrived at Halifax from NY after 4PM when the submarine nets were put in place. It was entering the harbor the next morning in order to join a convoy to England. The Imo was heading out to the open ocean. --tgpaulNY

Adjusting for inflation[edit]

According to the article, the explosion caused $30M in damage. Does anyone know for sure that this is 1917 dollars, and is it US or Canadian? If it's 1917 US, I ran a quick adjustment and came up with US$508,553,700 in 2005 dollars. Can anyone verify the original currency? Ocon | [[User talk:Ocon|Talk]] 15:31, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

The CBC indicates that it was $35 million 1917 US Dollars, and converts that roughly to $430 million in today's USD. --Potatophysics 22:28, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

On a somewhat related note, shouldn't the cost be in Canadian dollars, because it's a Canadian event?

Yes, it should be in 1917 CDN, then a modern day (2005, whatever) CDN. And then MAYBE in modern US dollars. But it shouldn't be 1917 US dollars. 00:34, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Editing this out perhaps?[edit]

equipment and they quickly abandoned ship upon the Captain's orders. Fleeing in two rowboats, the crew reached safety on the Dartmouth shore as the burning ship continued to drift toward the Halifax shore. As it was burning other ships came in aid, and onlookers gathered on the shore to fuck teen girls.

From the article. I trust this is incorrect and should be edited out?


Boston gratitude/Christmas tree kerfuffle[edit]

There's a current thing going on here in Canada where the Haligonian (what we call people from Halifax, honest) found out that Boston is now calling the donated Christmas tree a "Holiday Tree" and he wants the darn tree back. Referenced here:

Probably not warranting an inclusion in the article, but it is an interesting coda.

Come and get the damned thing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

A few changes....[edit] -states that the Mont Blanc was heading for France not Belgium. In fact, it was ordered to go to Halifax because it was too slow for the convoy heading from New York where it had been loaded. A slower convoy would be departing from Halifax Harbour.

The Imo was a Belgian relief ship. It said that in bold letters on it's side.

The time of the explosion was actually 9:04:35 am local time, not 8:45.

The CBC website also has monetary values of all the explosives on board at the time for anyone who is interested. :)


The Imo had Belgian relief in bold letters on its side because it was carrying relief supplies to Belgium. This ship and crew were Norwegian.

Also I do not believe the photo of the explosion cloud is correctly captioned. It is my understanding that that photo was taken from the Northwest Arm on the other side of the main peninsula of Halifax.

--Andre —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Explosion's force[edit]

It is worth noting that the explosion had an estimated force of 2.9 kilotons, making it (at the time) the most powerful explosion ever caused by humans. Hugo Dufort 20:51, 14 October 2006 (UTC) Ref:

The map[edit]

I'm going to be bold and remove the oddly proportioned, amateurishly edited map that adds virtually nothing to the article. If you want a map of Halifax, click on Halifax. As it is, this map does not contribute to the subject at hand.--Dmz5 06:35, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree, I was moving it down farther in the article, but it's really just not a good map. If it showed Halifax within Canada only, perhaps. Certainly it should not be the main image of the article. --Dhartung | Talk 06:41, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Even better, I should say, would be a map of Halifax and the harbor showing the location of the collision and the extent of explosion damage. --Dhartung | Talk 06:44, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Anyone any good with photo editing? I did the first one, so I'd rather not take a shot at the next one. As for a complete removal of the map, I think that isn't fair for people who are visual learners, as explained in my rational above (Under "The Map is US-Centric") Crisco 1492 08:39, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for calling your work amateurish! Didn't mean it as a dig. I agree that a map is helpful but I have a bit of a pet peeve about fuzzy maps that look like they might have been done with MS Paint (not that I'm saying this one was, but you know what I mean, a lot of maps look a little too cartoony and can detract from the subject.)--Dmz5 18:56, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
No offence taken Dmz. For the sake of curiousity, I did that using GIMP. I understand there are better maps. Perhaps there is a map in Halifax which can be used for a location. Where is the best location? Crisco 1492 00:17, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Note: The map in the Halifax article is totally America Centric. I'm Canadian and I can't make heads or tales of that map. Can someone supply me with a good, non-cartoony Canadian map so I try and make something decent? Crisco 1492 00:25, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Current Revision[edit]

This looks pretty well done. I congratulate whomever did this current version. However, I believe it might be neater were the table of contents to the left, and the picture to the right, like most wiki articles. How is that done? Crisco 1492 22:59, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Hi Crisco, thanks for the comments.. I had attempted to do what you suggest, but was in a rush earlier and thought it would do for the time being.. it looked really bad on the left, without floating.. but I set it to float left now so the Halifax in wartime section and everything below it doesn't get pushed below the table of contents box (you can see what I mean on this previous version [9]... anyway.. feel free to suggest any other points.. long way to go on this article! WarBaCoN 04:45, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Now it effects the bulleted list in an odd way.. doing some reading, wikipedia advises "A left-floated TOC may affect bulleted or numbered lists. Where it does, float the TOC to the right, or do not float it." So I guess there is a decision to be made.. I don't know.. none of the options really appeal to me.. If anybody could comment on which layout is best A, B, or C. WarBaCoN 05:06, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Version A is the standard wiki format, from most of the articles that I have seen. B looks absolutely terrible to me, and is rather confusing for those of use used to things being in a standardized format. C isn't that bad, but A seems better. The ones which do not follow A generally have a table on the right which extends below the table of contents. Possibly someone with really good wiki-skills could do that, maybe in the style of facts in a box, with the major points: Location, Date, Time, Casualties etc. I'll take a look at how to build a table, maybe that would be okay. Looking good though. What if this were to be a wikiproject of the month for those interested in disasters? Crisco 1492 00:00, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
K, just spent half an hour trying to get a table in there. I'm now looking for a template for natural explosions, but all I've seen is for terrorist attacks. Theoretically, that could work. I'll give it a shot. Crisco 1492 00:35, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I give up... I got a table up there, but I can't get the text in a good looking position. Tag, your it WarBacon. :p Crisco 1492 00:53, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Looks like we'll have to create one, doh.. which is out of my current scope and brainpower tonight.. I'm surprised there is nothing for disasters really.. looks good though so far. Oh I put a little of the intro back in that you took out.. just because the explosion part is really the important part and it's enticing details I think!.. and I used the standard no-float layout method again.. WarBaCoN 03:30, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
There we go, looks pretty good. I'll check the help page how to ask for a template, unless anyone knows how to make one? Crisco 1492 23:05, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I'll give it a go on the weekend.. pretty sure we can get something set up quicker than asking for it (I hope)! WarBaCoN 06:51, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Looking good. Next would probably come a couple edits for organization and what not. I personally believe there are too many subsections in the article, some of which are too short (Specifically subsections in the Explosion and Aftermath section, as well as in the Rescue Effort Section.). Crisco 1492 01:05, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Done. Looking good, eh? Crisco 1492 04:39, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

This looks great! (I'm the "Stephanie" that posted above in 2007). The new revision is fantastic and well researched. Just a tidbit for anyone who is interested (and this is not worth being on the main page).....there was a documentary a few years ago about the how researchers went looking for the crater which they expected was left after the explosion. Sonar did not pick up one so they sent divers down and discovered a couple neat things. Firstly, there is surprisingly no sludge at the bottom of the harbour from raw sewage, there is lush, green growth down there......the currents present in such a deep natural harbour have taken all the sewage pollution out to sea. The harbour is of course, polluted but most is at the surface and the result of oil and other industrial practices (shipping, transport, etc.). The second thing they found was that there is in fact, no crater. The base of the harbour is down to the bedrock so that also contributed to the devastating effects of the explosion.....the force was entirely deflected up and out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cordova88 (talkcontribs) 14:13, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

"Magic explosion"? Expert needed.[edit]

In the current revision of this article, the text segues from "prelude to disaster" directly to describing the explosion, leaving this reader to assume that it was the result of an angry genie or somesuch. While I acknowledge that the (somewhat lengthy) introduction text clearly states that the two ships collided, it is still relatively non-standard for the introduction text to contain crucial information not found elsewhere in a large article - and positively inexcusable to neglect any mention of what actually triggered the entire event! Anyway, I'm no history genius, but I'm tagging this page as needing attention from an expert on the subject, and hoping that Fate will see fit to bring an improved article to humankind. --Action Jackson IV 00:20, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

no magic here.. except the genie who made the whole section I had painstakingly set up, disappear.. I put it back.. enjoy.. WarBaCoN 07:28, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


Christmas - Every Christmas since 1971, Nova Scotia has donated a large Christmas tree to the City of Boston in thanks and remembrance for the help ...

-shouldn't the date rather be 1917, since the disaster occured then???

-- 09:55, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

No, the city didn't send a tree 19 days after the explosion, it was a tradition that didn't start until 1971. Wonnkabe 19:24, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually, Halifax first sent a tree in 1918; in 1971, it was decided to renew that practice and continue it yearly thereafter.Irish Melkite (talk) 15:46, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Aftermath info lacking[edit]

Is there an expert who can address the aftermath of the explosion? Areas I feel are missing are 1) rebuilding the city 2) how recovery was effected by the influenza epidemic 3) the Relief Commission running until 1976 with money leftover. Also, I seem to remember a show talking about some of the survivors in the line of the explosion had debris embedded in exposed skin so that years later their skin had a bluish cast. Anyone know if this was true & have a source to back it up? Kea2 (talk) 21:22, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

For your last point, the most common blue or gray skin color would be imparted by silver, either elemental or easily reacted by the body and absorbed. As for the former, I saw no total of seriously (as in hospitalized) injured estimates (one doesn't count bodies in the midst of a mass casualty event).Wzrd1 (talk) 04:20, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Language barrier?[edit]

The article states that the language barrier between the french seamen and the Halifx inhabitants prevented the warning of the imminent explosion from being ditributed through the city.

Nova Scotia is a french-speaking province - so what's going on here? No citation and I don't believe it for a second. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:22, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Some communities have more French established, however Nova Scotia is predominantly an English speaking province, as is Halifax. explains the language barrier between the crew and onlookers under the section "Fire on Mont-Blanc". WarBaCoN (talk) 20:17, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Public inquiry info[edit]

I just came to read this article after watching the Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion mini-series. The article, although fine, seems rather incomplete without mentioning the public inquiry and its outcome anywhere in the article.-- (talk) 22:53, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

If you read the comments, the relief wasn't completed until 1976. An inquiry would have been sidelined, due to the war and might even be classified even today.Wzrd1 (talk) 04:23, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Medical relief train from Boston[edit]

If the train left Boston at 2200 in the Eastern time zone and arrived in Halifax a day and a fraction later at 0300 in the Atlantic time zone, wouldn't that be 28 hours later? Am I missing something, or is the text erroneous in saying the trip took 30 hours? Did someone add instead of subtracting? Hertz1888 (talk) 06:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Referenced sources give the 30 hour figure. Even if the departure time, 10 PM, is expressed in Halifax time like the arrival time, that would still be only 29 hours. I have reworded the text to take out any exact transit time. If more information comes to light, the text can be adjusted accordingly. Hertz1888 (talk) 21:17, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Category:Industrial fires and explosions[edit]

I added Category:Industrial fires and explosions to this article. Both a fire and an explosion were involved in this disaster. There was a sugar refinery, an industrial facility, demolished in this disaster. If somebody does not like Category:Industrial fires and explosions in this article, you can take it out. H Padleckas (talk) 12:51, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Location of Blast Cloud Photo[edit]

Several locations have been given for this photo by various sources: the Northwest Arm, a passing ship 13 miles away and Bedford Basin. Zemel's web article does the most considered job of comparing them and concludes Bedford Basin is the most likely candidate.Letterofmarque (talk) 03:30, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

notable survivors?[edit]

So is Ashpan Annie/Annie Liggins/Mrs. Anne Welsh - a notable survivor that should be documented? (talk) 09:30, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

I'd say so, due to the unique conditions and the extremity of conditions! Or do you consider an infant blown under a hot stove, during a major explosion that killed her entire family not worthwhile? If so, NOTHING is worthwhile and we should eliminate Wikipedia, all libraries and all writing! Or, we permit that which is NOTEWORTHY IN A DISASTER ZONE.

In most disasters, infants and toddlers are shredded, literally. Hence, her survival is noteworthy, but not particularly worthy of an article on her on that basis. Unless you also think that after a major disaster, it is a normal thing, in December, in Canada, in particular, Halifax, an infant should survive for at least 26 hours until she was found and rescued. Sorry, she was noteworthy in survival in an "impossible situation", in short, where she should NOT have survived, but did.Wzrd1 (talk) 04:34, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Can an admin unfardle this category assortment of mutual exclusion?[edit]

As an example, the article is tagged B-Class History of Canada articles High-importance History of Canada articles

OK, WHICH is it? A MAJOR disaster, which erases a substantial amount of a major city seems important to history, but, it's B-class? Or did I miss quality tags (I just thought of that, but it's rather late to look it up)? Then, there is the Heinz 57 of other categories that rather conflicted. Again, a major city being partially erased is of import for history of said city, culture and current development. One rather doubts that any family that was impacted back then would STILL not be sensitive AND there are events resurrected that remind all of it today and are ongoing, which signifies a larger importance to the province. Your thoughts?Wzrd1 (talk) 04:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. The article is tagged as high-importance for the reasons that you give. However, it is B-class based on its quality, not importance. See here for details on assessment. What other categories do you feel are conflicted? Nikkimaria (talk) 05:33, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
As Nikkimaria notes, "class" and "importance" are two different concepts. This is very much a high importance event to Wikiproject Canada, though perhaps a lower importance one to one of the other 11 projects whose scope this article falls. The B class is a relative indication of its quality. I've been slowly working this article up (taking a break right now to focus on other things), but eventually (hopefully by end of summer) wish to have it to good article class. Eventually, I hope to see this article reach featured article status, which would indicate that it is one of the best articles we've written on Wikipedia.

Largest man-made explosion before Trinity?[edit]

Probably not. The source for the claim, Time Home Entertainment, does not strike me as an entirely reliable secondary source. The Port Chicago explosion was estimated at up to 5 kilotons, compared with the 3 kilotons for the Halifax disaster cited in this article. The Mount Hood explosion was probably comparable in magnitude to the Halifax disaster. --Yaush (talk) 03:34, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Please see List of the largest artificial non-nuclear explosions and its citations for comparative figures. Estimated TNT tonnage equivalent of Port Chicago is 2 kt, vs. 2.9 for Halifax. It's well-sourced. We don't have to take Time's word for it. Hertz1888 (talk) 03:51, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a citation for the Port Chicago disaster being estimated at 5 kilotons? The article itself asserts only that "In all, the munitions on the pier and in the ship contained the equivalent of approximately 2,000 short tons (1,800 t) of TNT". I would consider Time to be reliable, but that does not mean they aren't in error. But we'll need to assess sources that verify your claim. Resolute 13:53, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
The US Navy report on the Port Chicago disaster says "The 4606 tons of cargo contained 1780 tons of high explosives and 199 tons of smokeless powder." and "The 429 tons of cargo on the pier contained 146 tons of high explosives and 10.75 tons of smokeless powder.". A careless reading of the first sentence could lead to a 5 kt estimate. LouScheffer (talk) 18:22, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
This has been previously discussed in the "Largest man-made non-nuclear explosion?" section in the talk page. The "Explosion" section in the article explains the question in more detail and is sourced to a reliable scientific and historical study. The Time Home Entertainment footnote is a somewhat redundant secondary source, but the largest ranking is well sourced and factual.Letterofmarque (talk) 15:40, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
As there now seems to be general agreement on that, I will take the initiative to remove the tag. Hertz1888 (talk) 15:55, 6 June 2012 (UTC)



Every building within a 16-mile radius, over 12,000 total, was destroyed or badly damaged.[38] vs. The disaster had damaged buildings and shattered windows as far away as Sackville and Windsor Junction, about 16 kilometres (10 mi) away.

Vic joseph (talk) 14:07, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Fixed to put the metric length first, in consistent fashion as the surrounding numbers. I got partway through refreshing this article, but really need to get back to it to catch things like that. Thanks for pointing it out! Resolute 15:06, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
They were more than likely pointing out that the article says "Buildings 16km away had windows shattered" and "Buildings within 16 miles were destroyed or badly damaged". That's inconsistent due to 16km being smaller than 16 miles. If a building 16 miles (22km) away was destroyed, it is amazing that a building 16km away only had a shattered window. (talk) 15:50, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
The first quote has EVERY building "badly damaged", but then describes a closer building with broken windows. Broken windows != badly damaged in my book. (talk) 20:38, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Good points, both of you. I'll have to get access to the sources and fix that up. Cheers! Resolute 21:30, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

What happened to Halifax?[edit]

This article starts:

The Halifax explosion occurred on December 6, 1917, when the former city of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, was devastated by the detonation ...

I don't get this former city bit. This isn't an article about Canadian local government structures, it is an article about a huge explosion. In that context, this sentence will be read by most people as meaning that Halifax no longer exists as an inhabited place, and probably by quite a few people as meaning that Halifax was so badly destroyed by the explosion that it never came back. Especially as this article is now featured on WP's front page, and hence likely to be viewed by lots of people who only vaguely know where Canada is.

Common sense tells us (surely) that Halifax is not a former place, but still very much with us. So this article should be rewritten in the present tense and Halifax should be hyper-linked to our article on Halifax-the-place. Only trouble is, I cannot find such an article. The impression I get is that we seem to have spent so much time splitting hairs by writing different articles on the different forms of local government that have ruled Halifax that we forgot to write an article on the place itself.

If I've missed one, please feel free to correct me, but in the meantime I'm going to delete that former and link Halifax to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Yes I know that points to a dab page, but until somebody points a better one out, that dab page looks like our best article on Halifax-the-place. -- chris_j_wood (talk) 16:03, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Johnny Tempest The Reason it says Former City of Halifax is Because of the Amalgamation's Act of 1996 which merged the Cities of Halifax, Dartmouth and the Town of Bedford under one municipal Government, it was meant to be a cost saving measure. Surprisingly most citizens did not like the change. The City of Halifax no longer exists per se, but it is still commonly referred to as such, it's official and legal title is now Halifax Regional Municipality. Also I was born in The then city in 1994, two years prior to amalgamation. So I am accurate in what I said here -- Johnny_Tempest (talk) 12:41, 10 November 2013 (AST)

Culpability inconsistent with the other article[edit]

The SS Imo article says that Imo was initially held blameless and then the court found joint responsibility. This article seems to describe crazy piloting, going too fast, wrong lane, refusing to yield, narrowly escaping disaster only to reverse and cause it, then reverse again and set off sparks. Now, my experience in piloting is limited to a rowboat, which not infrequently bumps into logs on the lake, so maybe my interpretation is confused, but it seems like this article and that one are completely at odds. Who's right? Wnt (talk) 19:24, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

The actions described in this article are what I found in sources. However, that the official inquiry initially found the Imo blameless is not necessarily a contradiction. As noted, the commission changed its decision on appeal, assigning equal fault. This is something that is not yet explained very well in this article, however. Resolute 19:58, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Resolute's assessment - I guess It could be worded better to explain the time line of conclusions.Moxy (talk) 20:03, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Reason for Renaming Article?[edit]

Why was the name of article changed, albeit slightly, from "Halifax Explosion" to "Halifax explosion"? Pretty much the entire historiography of the region treats the name as a proper noun as a formal name for a distinct event using an upper case for "Explosion". The Great Chicago Fire is not titled "Great Chicago fire".Letterofmarque (talk) 03:27, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks dheffernen for fixing this.Letterofmarque (talk) 19:11, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Post-explosion picture - Imo or Mont Blanc visible on opposite shore?[edit]

The caption for the picture of Halifax two days after the explosion says "The Imo can be seen aground on the far side of the harbour." However, the description attached to the photo identifies the ship as the Mont Blanc. I believe it is the Imo (based on the the fact that the Mont Blanc was pretty well blowed up, as well as the statement from the article "The Imo was carried onto the shore at Dartmouth by the tsunami." Can't figure out how to update the picture description, though... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

It is fixed now. You have to go to Wikimedia and edit the description there.Letterofmarque (talk) 19:12, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Survivors - Bill Owen[edit]

Bill Owen is definitely not the last survivor. There are other living survivors who actually lived at ground zero, the north end of Halifax on the day of the explosion. One of these survivors is Mary Murphy who attends the memorial service on Fort Needham every year.

Requested move[edit]

The discussion above used incorrect claims about grammar and about use in sources. The "Halifax Bang" or similar coined names (if in use) would be proper nouns, but the "Halifax explosion" is not considered a proper noun by professional copyeditors and reputable publishers.

It seems we're going to have to add a separate section for this kind of issue to the MOS if this is not a clear case even for admins. We cannot waste time rediscussing such clear cases for thousands of articles. Almost all articles in the category 20th-century explosions are lowercased, and books published by university presses and other reputable publishers on the Halifax explosion use lowercase, eg The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy. --Espoo (talk) 00:09, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

You do realize you cited a book that uses the uppercase in the title as justification to use lowercase? Or did you mean that the book publisher isn't reputable?--Auric talk 00:46, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
It seems you didn't look in the book itself, which consistently uses lowercase. It also seems you don't know that blurbs are written by people from the marketing department, who are rarely professional copyeditors and who often deliberately ignore or don't even know about the publisher's editing decisions. In any case, such blurbs don't go through the rigorous copyediting process all texts go through before being published by a reputable publisher. --Espoo (talk) 07:34, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
I just realized i misunderstood what you said and that you don't know the basics of this issue: 1) the capitalization style used in titles of books is never used in the text 2) Wikipedia doesn't even use that style in article titles. --Espoo (talk) 07:42, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
If you are only going to accept "professional copyeditors and reputable publishers" as sources, you are ignoring WP:COMMONNAME. You don't have to go far to see that a capital E is favoured by sources. 117Avenue (talk) 08:56, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

What Happened to Medical Relief??[edit]

After searching via Wayback Machine (because I can't seem to develop any adeptness at viewing history here, unless the change I'm seeking is very contemporaneous), I confirmed a nagging suspicion that something was missing. Sometime between 5/2010 and 7/2011 a section titled 'Medical Relief' (and a sub to it titled 'Facilities') were removed in their entirety and I don't see any discussion here regarding that. Bits and pieces were incorporated into other sections, but much was not. The section appeared after that on Firefighters and before the Survival Stories. I strongly suggest that the deletion be reverted and then it can be edited to eliminate any of the info that has been incorporated into other sections. Irish Melkite (talk) 05:11, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

See Irish Melkite (talk) 05:26, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

If it's reverted, all edits since would be gone anyway. That is the heart of reversion. If you have the citations, I'd support a merge of the deleted content, edit out of now extraneous content and keep newer content that is also cited. I'd far prefer not tossing the baby out with the bathwater.Wzrd1 (talk) 05:36, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Nice thought, but unlikely and unsourced[edit]

"Besides the annual Christmas Tree donation, a notable proportion of Nova Scotians (and Haligonians in particular) identify as supporters of Boston's major professional sports league teams, a loyalty which is often traced to the relief effort of 1917."

Never, ever, have I heard this one and I doubt its author can find a source for it. Nova Scotia/Boston/New England links go way beyond the 1917 explosion, with familial ties everywhere one looks. As well, the sports team loyalties were further enhanced by the availability of Boston/New England televised sporting events in NS. I've deleted the sentence. Irish Melkite (talk) 05:18, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

I'd have left the Christmas tree donation part and removed the rest under your rationale. Christmas trees are relatively new in the US as a universal item, dating to near that time as I recall. Still, if any citations support any part of that sentence, I'd support restoring that part of the sentence.Wzrd1 (talk) 05:34, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Wzrd, The Christmas tree donation is the subject of the entire paragraph preceding the deleted sentence, which is why I didn't bother to leave the stub.Irish Melkite (talk) 11:57, 25 September 2013 (UTC)