WTC Dust Study

WTC Dust Study

Michael Lusk

21 April 2010




Michael sent me a document entitled WTC Dust Signature Report – Composition and Morphology (alternative link). It was written in 2003 in relation to Deutsche Bank’s contested insurance claim for damage to the Deutsche Bank building caused by debris falling from the collapsing WTC buildings.


Michael notes:


The document was used as evidence in civil litigation and entered the public record via the judicial process.  It’s an important source document for New York environmental lawyers and public advocates, mainly in connection with asbestos contamination/toxic torts.


Its interpretations as to the provenance of the dust are deliberately uncontroversial.  The report was prepared pursuant to legal proceedings between Deutsche Bank and its US insurer.  As Deutsche Bank’s expert witness, RJ Lee Group didn’t want to be derided in cross-examination as a conspiracy theorist.  The mandate RJ Lee Group accepted from Deutsche Bank was to identify a quantitative signature for WTC dust, which the report provides.  The issue in the insurance litigation was liability to indemnify for the costs of cleaning up asbestos-containing dust contaminating the Deutsche Bank building.  Had the dust originated in the Deutsche Bank building itself, the insurer could have avoided liability under the terms of the insurance policy.  For Deutsche Bank, the extraordinarily high proportion of iron spheres in the dust was significant only to the extent that it provided an element of the unique signature for WTC dust.


I first heard of it mentioned in a 911 context in a video interview with Prof. David Ray Griffin.  So far as explaining the cause of the collapse of the buildings is concerned, the detailed data in the report is valuable because it makes some critical quantitative estimates possible.


Michael has also noted the paucity of WTC Debris:


One of the unusual features of the 911 WTC event was the paucity of rubble remaining following the collapse of Buildings 1, 2 and 7.  My goal in making this estimate was to have some means of comparing the mass of WTC dust with the combined structural mass of WTC 1, 2 and 7, with a view to answering the question: "Where did the buildings go?"

WTC Dust Study


Michael added a spreadsheet containing a worked estimate for the mass of WTC dust.  He described it as follows:


My estimate of the mass of WTC dust is at the rough outline stage: it’s a concept for a study.  It proposes a basic quantitative model and includes key assumptions and estimates.  It further includes some brief notes on sources of uncertainty.  So far as the assumptions used are approximately correct and the model is in principle valid, the estimate suggests it is plausible that substantially the entire structural mass of WTC buildings 1, 2 and 7 was reduced to dust.  This appears to be somewhat new.  It appears that existing estimates – which so far as I’ve seen don’t include a statement of method – are at least an order of magnitude lower.


I’d like to suggest that others may – perhaps as a piece of original research for the award of a Masters or PhD – wish to refine the basic model and work it up into a formal study for publication.


The estimate is posted here (text and images only):




You can download the Excel spreadsheet file here:



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