Why Fertilizer Is Dangerous (Infographic)

Infographic: Why fertilizer is explosive is explained.
Ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in fertilizer, can be powerfully explosive under certain conditions. (Image credit: Karl Tate, Livescience.com Infographics Artist)

Nitrogen, one of three common additives to agricultural fertilizer, is often in the form of ammonium nitrate, a potentially explosive chemical compound. 

Thirty-four production plants across America produce nitrogen fertilizer. The facility in West, Texas that exploded on April 17, 2013, was a retail facility, not a production facility. There are around 6,000 retail facilities around the country that sell fertilizer directly to farmers.

Ammonium nitrate can explode under conditions of heat or shock. The chemical was a component of the bomb used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995.

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Karl Tate
LiveScience Infographic Artist
Karl has been Purch's infographics specialist across all editorial properties since 2010.  Before joining Purch, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University.