CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ammonium nitrate burning. Explosion of flames leaps out of a dish containing burning ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3). Ammonium nitrate is used in the manufacture of explosives and fertilisers. It was first used as an explosive by Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prizes, who used it in his dynamite mixtures in 1875. Its true destructive power was not realised until a disaster in 1947 when a ship carrying it exploded in the harbour of Texas City, USA, killing around 600 people. Because it is fairly easy to obtain for agricultural purposes, it has been used in terrorist bombings, for example the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City, USA.
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