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Event Details

The Exploding Whale

Time: November 9, 2020 all day
Location: a beach in Florence, Oregon
Website or Map: https://oregonencyclopedia.or…
Event Type: historical
Latest Activity: Apr 7

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Event Description

I am of course, referring to the one purposefully blown up in Florence OR.

On November 9, 1970, a forty-five-foot, eight-ton sperm whale washed ashore near Florence on Oregon's south coast
In addition to the stench and the possibility that the body would burst, local officials were concerned that people curious about the carcass might climb on it and fall in. The agency responsible for Oregon beaches, the Oregon State Highway Division was called in to remove the whale. After consulting with U.S. Navy and munitions experts, Assistant District Highway Engineer George Thornton decided to treat the carcass as a boulder and to use dynamite to dislodge it.

A crowd of spectators and local reporters gathered on the beach on November 12 about a quarter mile from the carcass. The engineers expected the whale to explode into small pieces, which seagulls and other scavengers would take care of. When Thornton gave the signal, State Highway Division workers set off a half-ton of dynamite.

“The beach erupted in a 100-foot-high column of sand and whale,” Larry Bacon reported in the Register-Guard. “Chunks of the animal flew in every direction, and spectators began to scream and run for cover when they glimpsed large pieces soaring directly overhead.” A sedan parked near the onlookers was crushed by a large chunk of blubber.

While no one was harmed by the explosion or the falling debris, chunks of the whale had to be collected and buried. KATU TV news reporter Paul Linnman provided a memorable account that included this description: “the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploding_whale

The explosion threw whale flesh over 800 feet away. American humorist Dave Barr wrote about it in his newspaper column in 1990 ( Moby Yuck) after viewing television footage of the explosion, and later the same footage circulated on the Internet. It was also parodied in a 2007 movie

An example of a spontaneously bursting whale carcass occurred in Taiwan in 2004, when the buildup of gas inside a decomposing sperm whale caused it to burst in a crowded urban area while it was being transported for a post-mortem examination.

. Oregon’s current policy is to bury dead beached whales in the sand.

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