The Censored Evidence of Thermite
by Christopher Bollyn
27 April 2006
A highly-respected physicist explains how Thermite may have been used to cut the critical core columns and produce the large amounts of molten iron seen at the World Trade Center, but the controlled media and scientists refuse to look at the evidence.
PROVO, Utah - "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act," the British writer George Orwell said. Orwell's words aptly describe the situation of Steven E. Jones, a soft-spoken professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), who has turned his scientific mind to the unanswered questions of 9-11.
Provo, the home of BYU, is America's most conservative city in its most Republican county. With more than 85 percent of the population supporting President George W. Bush, Provo seems an unlikely place for any "revolutionary act" -- unless that act meant simply "telling the truth."
On the picturesque campus of the private Mormon university, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Jones teaches physics and carries out research in the fields of metal-catalyzed fusion, solar energy, and archaeometry. As an archaeometrist, Jones applies physics to explain events in the past. Since he became aware of the unanswered questions of 9-11 in 2005, Jones has focused his attention on the available data and evidence.
The unexplained presence of large amounts of molten iron at the WTC puzzled Jones and he contacted me to confirm the reports in my articles from 2002. These reports came to me directly from two men closely involved in the removal of the rubble: Peter Tully of Tully Construction of Flushing, N.Y., and Mark Loizeaux of Controlled Demolition, Inc. of Phoenix, Md.
Tully told me that he had seen pools of "literally molten steel" in the rubble. Loizeaux confirmed this: "Yes, hot spots of molten steel in the basements," he said, "at the bottom of the elevator shafts of the main towers, down seven levels." The molten steel was found "three, four, and five weeks later, when the rubble was being removed," he said. He confirmed that molten steel was also found at WTC 7, which mysteriously collapsed in the late afternoon.
Last November, Jones first presented his ideas in a draft which has since evolved into a 52-page scientific paper. His paper begins with a clear appeal for "a serious investigation of the hypothesis that WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were brought down through the use of pre-positioned cutter-charges." Jones presents photographic and scientific evidence that an aluminothermic reaction using a form of Thermite was most likely used to weaken and sever the 47 massive core columns that held up the towers. The official version utterly fails to explain how these critical columns failed.
Thermite, however, a combination of finely ground aluminum and iron oxide (rust), cuts through steel like a "warm knife through butter," Jones said, especially when mixed with 2 percent sulfur. The resulting eutectic combination, called Thermate, lowers the melting point of steel.
Thermite was patented in Germany by Hans Goldschmidt in the late 1800s. Extremely high temperatures are produced when the aluminum and iron oxide react. The reaction produces temperatures of more than 2,500 degrees Celsius (4,500 degrees F) as the ferric oxide is reduced to molten iron. Iron melts at 1,535 degrees C.
The reaction causes the oxygen from the ferric oxide to bond with the aluminum, producing aluminum oxide, molten iron, and approximately 750 kilocalories per gram of Thermite. The aluminum oxide is a whitish smoke, which was also observed in large amounts on 9-11.
I recently attended a presentation of Jones' 9-11 research at BYU. Jones began with footage of the unexplained collapse of Larry Silverstein's 47-story building, WTC 7, at 5:25 p.m. When Jones was interviewed by Tucker Carlson of MSNBC, the producers refused to air this short but crucial video segment. I also observed Thermite reactions in Jones' physics class. As a colleague combined the powdered rust and aluminum in a mounted ceramic flower pot, Jones filmed the reaction. A paper wick with magnesium ignited the sand-like mixture. The reaction was intense, nearly explosive, and white flames and pieces of metal flew out of the pot. From the bottom poured a white-hot liquid -- pure molten iron. After a few seconds a glowing yellow-hot piece of iron was lifted with tongs and shown to the students.
Because Thermite does not require air, it can react underwater or in an oxygen-starved environment, which may explain the persistent hot spots that existed for weeks in the rubble completely unaffected by the continuous dousing with fire hoses. The scientific literature on Thermite says that the white-hot molten iron and slag it produces can itself prolong and extend the heating and incendiary action.
"As of 21 days after the attack, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running," Leslie Robertson, structural engineer responsible for the design of the WTC, told fellow engineers. Footage taken by WABC-TV of the burning South Tower at 9:53 a.m., immediately before the building collapsed, reveals large amounts of white-hot molten metal, presumably iron, pouring from the 81st floor of the east corner. The amount of spilling molten metal suggests that a pool of molten iron was produced in that area of the building.
While some have suggested that the molten metal was aluminum, this challenged by the fact that molten aluminum appears silver-grey in daylight. The only possible explanation is that the white-hot metal gushing from the South Tower was molten iron and had been produced by a very large amount of Thermite.
The amount of molten metal seen falling would indicate that tons of Thermite had been used on that floor. From the video footage it appears that several cubic meters of molten metal fell, which, if iron, would have weighed about 8.65 tons each.
"I consider the official FEMA, NIST, and 9-11 Commission reports," Jones writes, which claim "that fires plus impact damage alone caused complete collapses of all three buildings." He challenges the official explanation and provides evidence to support the controlled-demolition hypothesis, which, he says "is suggested by the available data, testable and falsifiable." Jones notes that the hypothesis that the towers were demolished by explosives "has not been analyzed in any of the reports funded by the U.S. government."
Ignoring the evidence of the controlled-demolition hypothesis, the FEMA-sponsored study of 2002 concluded, "The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown." Furthermore, the official report found that the fire-induced collapse hypothesis "has only a low probability of occurrence."
"Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue," the engineers concluded. "That is precisely the point," Jones says, "further investigation and analyses are indeed needed, including serious consideration of the controlled-demolition hypothesis which is neglected in all of the government reports." The fact that the 9-11 Commission report does not even mention the collapse of WTC 7 "is a striking omission of data highly relevant to the question of what really happened on 9-11," he said.
Further investigation is what Jones is trying to get other scientists to do. One would think that the mainstream media would be interested in a highly-respected physicist answering questions about 9-11, but that has not been the case. The controlled media and supporters of the official version completely avoid Jones. Like a modern-day Galileo, Jones has exposed the flaws in the official version, "a myth," he says, "which has taken on religious proportions."
"There is a clear disconnect between what the official reports say happened and what actually happened," Jones says. "A scientific theory has to be falsifiable. It must be able to be tested and challenged. The data stands on its own. Where are the honest scientists?" Jones asks. "Take the blinders off and find out what happened."
The official 9-11 reports are what Jones calls "pathological science," in which investigators ignore all evidence that contradicts the conclusion they have been asked to prove. I contacted three scientists who support the official theory to ask if they would review Jones' paper.
Thomas W. Eagar of MIT refused to even look at the paper and said there is no evidence of molten metal pouring from the WTC. Challenged with the evidence, he hung up the phone.
Zdenek P. Bazant of Northwestern University submitted his fire-induced collapse theory to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) two days after 9-11, without examining any evidence. Asked if he would review Jones' paper, Bazant also refused, "I have seen Jones' fiction before. If you want my private opinion, it is nothing but sensationalism," he said. "His purported refutation of my analysis is baseless." Asked to simply look at 5 photos in an e-mail showing the cascading molten metal and core columns which appear to have been cut with Thermite, Bazant responded, "I do not have time."
Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, an Iranian-born professor at Berkeley, who was a member of the ASCE team studying the WTC collapse, also refused to look at Jones' paper, saying, "I will not be able to find time to review the material that you have sent me."
Molten metal, presumed to be iron, poured from the 81st floor of the South Tower shortly before it collapsed.