The catastrophic failure of its underlying concrete foundation was very unlikely to occur on its own.
Given the satellite and seismic detections of explosions in the area, by far the most likely cause of the collapse was an explosive charge placed in the maintenance passageway, or gallery, that runs through the concrete heart of the structure, according to two American engineers, an expert in explosives and a Ukrainian engineer with extensive experience with the dams operations.
If your objective is to destroy the dam itself, a large explosion would be required, said Michael W.
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And just before the dam gave way, American intelligence satellites captured infrared heat signals that also indicated an explosion.
After the first section of the dam was breached, videos suggest that the power of the rushing water tore a larger and larger gash into the dam.
As the water levels further dropped this week, they fell below the top of the concrete foundation.
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