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The Physical Evidence of Thermite in the WTC Dust

by Christopher Bollyn
16 May 2007

Professor Jones provides an explanation for Professor Cahill's discovery of ultra-fine particles in the air, which Bollyn wrote about last year: Bollyn-ProfCahill.html
Photo: Micrograph from USGS report confirms presence of iron-rich spheres in the dust produced during destruction of the World Trade Center.

How were the required high temperatures produced?

For more information on thermite, check out:
9/11 researcher Dr. Steven E. Jones of Brigham Young University, in a newly published paper entitled "Revisiting 9/11/2001 – Applying the Scientific Method," explains the important physical evidence of Thermite (and its analogues such as Thermate) found in the dust of the World Trade Center. This paper discusses the tiny iron-rich spheres, some as large as 1 or 2 mm, which were found in great abundance in the dust from the WTC.

Based on the mass of these iron-rich spheres found in a sample of the dust found in a nearby apartment, Jones estimates (roughly) that about .04 percent of the dust was "iron-rich spherule," which would be "of the order of ten tons." This gives us some idea of how much Thermite (Thermate, etc.) was in the twin towers.

This paper is highly recommended and deserves a careful reading by those who are interested in the physical evidence that Thermite-type aluminothermics were used to bring down the largest steel and concrete towers in the world on September 11, 2001.

I have provided a few snips from Jones' paper below. The entire paper is available online as a PDF file at:

(link has been corrected)

* * * * * * * * *

In the thermite/thermate reaction, many molten droplets are typically produced, which form spheres upon cooling in air. They are mostly metallic iron mixed with such other elements which were present in the thermite-analog used. For example, using a mixture of aluminum powder, iron and sulfur, we find small spheres are produced in the thermate reaction.

The spheres from the thermite reaction are observed (using X-EDS methods) to contain strong peaks for aluminum and iron, and for “thermate”; sulfur is also prominent. (Note that the iron-aluminum-sulfur spheres from MacKinlay’s apartment contained very low calcium, so the sulfur is evidently not from gypsum, a common building material).

Thus we have chemical signatures for thermite variants, and we will compare the composition of the thermite-generated spheres with the spheres found abundantly in the WTC dust.

* * * * * * * * *

The iron-rich component of the WTC dust sample was analyzed in some detail by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and x-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (X-EDS). Using the scanning electron microscope, we found that much of the iron-rich dust was in fact composed of roughly spherical particles – microspheres.

The presence of metallic microspheres implies that these metals were once molten, so that surface tension pulled the droplets into a roughly spherical shape. Then the molten droplets solidified in air, preserving the information that they were once molten in the spherical shape as well as chemical information.

Iron melts at 1538 degrees C, so the presence of these numerous iron-rich spheres implies a very high temperature. Too hot in fact for the fires in the WTC buildings since jet fuel (kerosene), paper and wood furniture – and other office materials – cannot reach the temperatures needed to melt iron or steel. (Remember the wood-burning stove…) Of course, elemental sulfur as found in thermate can lower the melting point of steel as discussed above.

* * * * * * * * *

Note that the NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations clearly states:
“Unusual residues might remain from the initial fuel. Those residues could arise from
thermite, magnesium, or other pyrotechnic materials.”

This is the standard procedure for fire and explosion investigations – looking for thermite residues. Was it applied to the WTC “crime scene”?

NIST was asked:

Question: “Was the steel tested for explosives or thermite residues? The combination of thermite and sulfur (called thermate) 'slices through steel like a hot knife through butter.'”

Answer: “NIST did not test for the residue of these compounds in the steel.”

NIST is remiss in not testing for thermite residues as required by the NFPA 921 code. We are testing for these residues and invite other serious researchers to join us. The EDS methods are well established.

* * * * * * * * *

I wish to add my conviction that 9/11 researchers must not assume a defensive posture, supposing that we are just victims in a brutal chess game. Rather, we can increase awareness of the many lines of evidence that together imply that the 9/11 events involve much more than we have been told by the US government or by the media.

Many of us sense a higher Source guiding our research and peace efforts. I am confident that by working together and seeking the facts with determination, we will succeed in finding out the truth about 9/11. If we act before the next series of restrictions on our liberties, we should be able to achieve justice and peace as well. 


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