Six days before the tragedy, the United States Navy battleship USS Gerald R. Ford conducted "crash tests" 400 kilometers from Surfside, which registered an intensity similar to that of a 3.9-degree earthquake in the Richter scale.
While the causes that led to the collapse of the building in Miami's Chambler Towers condominium last Thursday are still unknown, all kinds of theories have emerged. One of them links the tragedy to the "crash tests" of a new US Navy warship off the coast of Florida.
One of the questions that many ask is whether these tests carried out on June 18 in the Ponce Inlet town of Florida, located about 400 kilometers from Surfside, could have triggered the collapse a few days later, at approximately 1:30 in the early morning (local time) on June 24.
The USS Gerald R. Ford was about 100 miles from Ponce Inlet, Volusia County, when an 18,100-kilogram explosive was detonated in the water. The explosion was so strong that it registered an intensity of 3.9 in seismic terms.
"(Investigators) are going to check it out," Abieyuwa Aghayere, a professor of forensic engineering at Drexel University, told the Miami Herald last week.
Paul Earle, a seismologist with the National Seismic Information Center (NEIC) of the United States Geological Survey, based in Golden, Colorado, said he does not believe the two events are related.
Given the severity of the explosion, the distance from the building, and the time elapsed between the explosion and the crash, we do not see any suitable way to eliminate the Miami Beach Area condominium for the June 18 Navy bombing. On June 24 he stated, according to the Miami Herald. "Each year, there are about 300 earthquakes of similar size to the explosion of the Navy in the contiguous United States, and none of them have triggered the collapse of a major building," he added.
Earle added that 3.9 is not classified as a major earthquake. However, "California has them quite often," he noted.
On Monday, Lieutenant Commander Desiree Frame, USS Gerald R. Ford's public affairs officer, debunked the theory of a connection between the collapse and the ship's crash tests off the coast of Florida.
"We have not seen anything to link the crash tests to the terrible event last week in South Florida," he told the Miami Herald.
"I can assure you that when we do these crash tests, there are a wide variety of environmental and safety factors that are taken into account. We know that we have to do this type of testing for the hull of our main ships, such as aircraft carriers, which is an important opportunity to assess the structural integrity of the hull and its ability to withstand an explosion of that size, but we take into account the location, water depth, time of day, migration patterns of marine life, etc. So many factors are taken into account to make sure it is as safe as possible," he explained to the Miami Herald.
Regarding the current theory about the cause of the tragedy, six engineering experts told the US newspaper on Saturday that, based on the available evidence, it is most likely that a structural column or a concrete slab located under the roof of the pool would give way and collapse onto the garage below, causing the tower to collapse.