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Could recent Navy blast off Florida coast have contributed to Surfside condo collapse?

Blast registered magnitude 3.9 on Richter scale
US Navy Test Blast off Florida coast, June 2021
Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 17:59:55-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A large blast off Florida's coast by the U.S. Navy is sparking speculation about fish kills and even the collapse of the condo building in Surfside.

The massive blast earlier this month, which occurred, 100 miles off Florida's coast, lit up social media.

"When I saw that, alarm bells went off in my head," said Fort Pierce resident Kevin Hinkle.

The Navy said the test was for their new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, but it concerned many Florida residents.

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"Dolphins beaching themselves or whales beaching themselves or any of that. [I] worry that could happen," Hinkle said.

The blast registered a magnitude of 3.9 on the Richter scale.

Building engineer Frederick Shaffer of the Shaffer group in Stuart said the blast and shockwave likely had no impact since buildings in South Florida are built to withstand hurricanes and tremors.

Frederick Shaffer
Building engineer Frederick Shaffer discusses the recent U.S. Navy test blast off the coast of Florida.

"On that basis, a building designed to South Florida standards should survive your average earthquake in California," Shaffer said.

The weekend fish kill in Juno Beach has also been attributed to water temperature change, but environmental groups also point out the damage to sea life from the blast may be far out in the ocean.

"Even a large animal, like a dolphin, is going to have a real chance at mortality if it's within one or two kilometers of the blast. And then going out 10 kilometers, you can have permanent hearing damage for a marine mammal that relies on its ability to hear and be heard," said Michael Jasny with the National Resources Defense Council.

The Navy said more blast tests are planned this summer off Florida's coast.