Apocalypse on Lake Texoma

This story was sent in by Beb E who one May about four decades ago saw a cake of sodium about 5" x 3" x 1.5" (about 360 grams, or 3/4 pound) thrown into lake Texoma.

It was just there in a jar of kerosine....

Sodium wants the OH radical from H2O, leaving a free H. And the heat generated in the process ignites all that free hydrogen.

That spring night the wind was a steady 25mph or so. I was concerned that maybe it would blow away the hydrogen before it could begin to burn. Tossed the cake about 25 feet out in the lake. After about 30 seconds it lit with a roar and the flame stood straight up about 12 feet high, wasn't even leaned over by the wind at all! It was very loud like a blowtorch, we turned and ran a step or two away, then it blew. The earth moved! I have never since felt the ground move.

I turned back to see this semicircle of fire and explosions on the water about 150 feet either side of us. Some the size of cherry bombs, many as small as a cap pistol, and everything in between. This went on for several minutes and we all thought it was over.

About half a mile out and to our right another explosion occurred. We were shocked! The main part of the cake was intact. When the 1st explosion slammed down on the water it must have propelled the cake 5 or 10 thousand feet in the air. Being of quick wit? We said, "Where will it land this time?" Our semicircle is still burning and popping and now half a mile away is a complete circle going crazy too! Wow.

A few more minutes and the next explosion happened only about a quarter of a mile away and a little to our left. Another circle of fire and explosions on the lake. We watched it hop several more times, then we became worried someone would come to see what in the world was going on. So we left still going, "Oh and Aww."

Sodium on the skin will go after your water as it is converting it's self to NaOH (lye). Hot lye is not a good thing to be in contact with! Not one of us was hit with a piece of sodium from that earth moving explosion only 30 feet away! To this day I don't know how we were so lucky.