On November 12, 1970, a 45-foot, eight-ton sperm whale washed up on the beach at Florence, Oregon. What unfolded next has become an epic representation of taking a bad idea and running with it.
The Oregon Highway Division, lacking experience in whale carcass disposal but high on creativity, decided that dynamite was the way. By blowing the whale up native scavengers (seagulls, crabs) would be employed to gobble up the tiny pieces Law Enforcement thought would result. Mistakes were made.
Let's talk about the amount of dynamite used! George Thornton, the engineer in charge, opted for half a ton. Experts (which apparently didn't include Thornton) later suggested that 20 sticks, or about 10 pounds, would have sufficed. This was going to be a whale of an explosion.
The blast was so powerful it rained down whale bits far and wide. The explosion sent a 100-pound chunk of blubber flying into the air, which, in a tragicomic twist of fate, crushed a brand-new car parked a quarter of a mile away.
You've got a dead whale, a bunch of dynamite, and a plan that sounds like Elon Musk made it. What could go wrong?
In the words of a famous man, Dy-No-Mite. Some whales, however, do not require explosives.