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Comptes Rendus Géoscience
Volume 341, n° 4
pages 306-309 (avril 2009)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crte.2009.03.001
Received : 18 April 2008 ;  accepted : 20 Mars 2009
Réfutation de l’hypothèse sismo-acoustique invoquée pour le double bang de la catastrophe de Toulouse (France) du 21 septembre 2001
Refutation of the seismo-acoustic hypothesis for the double bang of the 21st September 2001, Toulouse (France) catastrophe

Alain Joets
Laboratoire de physique des solides, université Paris-Sud, bâtiment 510, 91405 Orsay cedex, France 


Dans leur note intitulée « Enregistrements sismologiques de l’explosion sur le site de l’usine AZF (Toulouse, France) » parue en 2002, A. Souriau et al. émettent l’hypothèse selon laquelle le premier bang entendu par la population le 21 septembre 2001 à Toulouse serait l’onde sismo-acoustique produite par l’explosion AZF, c’est-à-dire une onde indirecte résultant d’une transmission dans la croûte terrestre (onde sismique) et d’une réfraction (onde acoustique). Nous reprenons le critère que doit satisfaire cette onde sismo-acoustique proposé par les auteurs et nous montrons qu’il n’est pas validé par les points de mesure correspondant au premier bang. D’autre part, nous montrons que l’onde sismo-acoustique d’AZF a bien été perçue par quelques rares témoins, mais en tant que grondements et non comme un bang. Par conséquent, l’onde sismo-acoustique d’AZF et le premier bang sont deux phénomènes qu’il faut soigneusement distinguer. En particulier, la source du premier bang est totalement indépendante de celle de l’explosion AZF.

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According to a paper by Souriau et al., published in 2002, the first bang heard by the population of Toulouse during the blast at the AZF plant, on 21st September 2001 should be the seismo-acoustic wave produced by the AZF explosion, i.e. an indirect wave generated as a transmission wave through the Earth’s crust (i.e., a seismic wave) and a refraction wave (i.e., an acoustic wave). We apply the criterion proposed by the authors in favour of a seismo-acoustic wave and show that the latter cannot be validated according to the data corresponding to the first bang. On the other hand, we show that the AZF seismo-acoustic wave has been perceived by only a few witnesses, but as rumblings and not as a bang. Consequently, AZF seismo-acoustic wave and first bang are two phenomena to be clearly discriminated. In particular, the source of the first bang is totally independent of that of the AZF explosion.

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Mots clés : Ondes sismo-acoustiques, Explosion, Bang, Usine AZF, Toulouse, France

Keywords : Seismo-acoustic waves, Blast, Bang, AZF plant, Toulouse, France

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