that shredded each of the Twin Towers
into short pieces of metal and fine powder
are frequently euphemized as crumbling.
A commenter on a NOVA documentary described the towers as
These terms convey an important aspect of the event --
the rapid and thorough disintegration of the towers --
while failing to acknowledge the exploding dust clouds
that obscured the centers of destruction as they descended the towers.
Talk of the disintegration of the skyscrapers is acceptable on TV,
whereas talk of exploding dust clouds is not.
But even ignoring the
thoroughness of destruction,
since when do steel structures disintegrate in seconds?
the "theory" that explains how steel buildings can self-destruct.
Progressive collapse describes the process by which a structure
destroys itself in a chain reaction of failures.
The phenomenon can be demonstrated using loose elements,
such as dominos or cards, but has not been demonstrated for
structures where the elements are fastened to each other,
except in terrorist incidents.
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The South Tower at 2.5 seconds.
This widely-circulated photograph was taken by
Gulnara Samoilova, whose photographs from 9/11/01 can be seen at
Taken from within 1000 feet of the exploding South Tower,
this photograph is a valuable piece of evidence in the
investigation of how the Towers were destroyed.