This Mushroom Cloud Is Not From the Fertilizer-Plant Explosion

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 18 2013 10:17 AM

This Mushroom Cloud Is Not From the Fertilizer-Plant Explosion

Not the right mushroom cloud
This widely-circulated photo is actually from a refinery explosion in 2008.

Screenshot / Twitter

The image above, widely circulated on social media after Wednesday night's explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, is actually from an oil refinery explosion that happened in 2008. The confusion is understandable: The oil refinery explosion was in West Texas—not the town of West, Texas.

Another reason the confusion is understandable: Wednesday night's blast produced a pretty big cloud of its own. One of the clearest photos of it came from Instagram user Andy Bartee. His caption: "Stopped in to get gas on my drive back from Austin to Dallas and a huge blast rocked the entire foundation of this place! A little scary... ."

Advertisement

Again, the photo below appears to be genuine.

Instagram Czech stop photo
This one appears to be genuine.

Andy Bartee / Instagram (republished with permission)

The Slatest has more on the blast.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:25 AM The Brilliant Fake Novels of Listen Up Philip
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 9:39 AM The International-Student Revolving Door Foreign students shouldn’t have to prove they’ll go home after graduating to get a visa.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.