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. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  3. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  4. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  5. a street scene from Vienna, Austria
    Equity

    Secrets of the World’s Most Livable City

    Viennese lawmaker Maria Vassilakou explains why the Austrian capital ranks so high on quality-of-life rankings, despite its rapidly growing population.

×