Bomb squad detonates bags of explosive slurry found in Guernsey reservoir

Exploded slurry that was discovered at the bottom of the Guernsey reservoir left a crater in the lake bottom. The bomb squad was called in to explode the potentially dangerous mixture that was found.

GUERNSEY – Two hikers who were traveling through the dry Guernsey reservoir bottom came upon bags of high explosive slurry last Saturday and reported it to Guernsey Park ranger Chris Delay.

According to Delay, the hikers wanted to remain anonymous, and upon further examination, he said that the bags were filled with high explosive slurry.

“There were four bags partially exposed,” Delay said. “The low water was what caused the bags to be exposed in the lake bottom.”

According to Delay, each bag was approximately 2 feet long by 5 inches in diameter.

“We immediately called the bomb squad and two officers showed up,” Delay said. “One was from the  Laramie County bomb squad and the other was a Cheyenne police officer. Upon further investigation and digging out the bags, five more were found, making a total of nine.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, “A slurry explosive is described which can be initiated by the detonator alone without the use of conventional sensitizers and is free from the deterioration due to time. The alkali metal salt of alkyldiphenyl ether disulfonic acid, dimethylalkylbetaine or fatty acid salt of 1-hydroxyethyl-2-alkyl-imidazo is used as a sensitizer and mixed with an inorganic oxidizing acid salt (such as ammonium nitrate), water, a combustible material and a thickener. The ammonium nitrate is dispersed uniformly in the mixture, and the formation of coarse crystals of ammonium nitrate is prevented. Uniform fine foams are introduced into the mixture, and the sensitizer cooperates with the thickener to stabilize the uniform fine foams for a long period of time.” 

The bags were labled, and an investigation is ongoing as to how and when the bags got there. Speculation based upon the manufacture date is that they were manufactured sometime between the ‘60’s and the ‘80s Delay said.

“They could have been there for a long time,” Delay said. “We just don’t know yet.”

According to Delay, it looked like industrial explosive slurry, but that couldn’t be specifically determined either. At times these mixtures are used in military purposes or for mining purposes.

“The bomb squad detonated the bags right there in the lake bottom,” Delay said. “They were discovered about a mile northeast of the Sandy Beach boat ramp. “They detonated four bags in the first batch and five bags in the second. The first explosion wasn’t as big as the second explosion.”

Delay cautioned people that if they come upon things like that or anything that seems suspicious, to contact the local authorities.


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