It's like they're occupied by cigar-sucking giants.

One could make many arguments—though one shouldn't need to—why taking down a huge cooling tower with explosives is awesome. One of the more unusual ones is that when the tower collapses into rubble, it can blow out a gigantic smoke ring as if occupied by a stogie-sucking Cyclops.

Britons valiant enough to "ignore health and safety warnings" by trekking out early at dawn Sunday were lucky enough to see not one, but three stacks blow rings before hitting the dust. The dying structure before them was part of the coal-and-oil Didcot power station west of London, voted in a 2003 survey as one of the U.K.'s worst eyesores. Explained one offended owner of retinas: "Not only is it big, grey and dirty-looking, but it has been placed in the middle of an open plane making it visible from up to thirty miles away. Would this be allowed today? I suspect not."

Removing the 1970s-era towers, whose collective weight added up to roughly 40,000 tons, required some 400 pounds of high explosives. The forceful blasts sent hot gas and dust shooting up the interior of the stacks, producing the faint rings visible right at the demolition's beginning. The halos hovered briefly before being covered by thick clouds of smokes.

If you're having trouble noticing the effect in the above video, it's quite visible in this slower frame-rate footage:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

  2. Equity

    The Problem With a Coronavirus Rent Strike

    Because of coronavirus, millions of tenants won’t be able to write rent checks. But calls for a rent holiday often ignore the longer-term economic effects.

  3. photo: A lone tourist in Barcelona, one of several global cities that have seen a massive crash in Airbnb bookings.
    Coronavirus

    Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus?

    The short-term rental market is reeling from the coronavirus-driven tourism collapse. Can the industry’s dominant player stage a comeback after lockdowns lift?

  4. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  5. Illustration of a house with separate activities taking place in different rooms.
    POV

    The Case for Rooms

    It’s time to end the tyranny of open-concept interior design.

×