Georgia Dome reduced to rubble in implosion after short but action-packed life
The Georgia Dome, the stadium in Atlanta that hosted 1996 Olympic events and which was the venue for two Super Bowls, has been reduced to rubble in an implosion.
Nearly 5,000 pounds of explosives were used to blast the Georgia Dome to smithereens at 7.30am local time.
Onlookers gathered at skyscrapers' windows, at a revolving hotel-top restaurant, in car parks and on nearby streets to watch the controlled destruction of the landmark stadium.
The dome opened in 1992, and it was flattened in just about 15 seconds.
The Georgia World Congress Centre Authority, which includes the 71,250-seat dome, had said it would take 12 seconds for the explosives to go off plus another three seconds for sections of grandstands to hit the ground.
The explosives went off in a spiral around the stadium as it collapsed on itself.
A vast debris cloud hovered over the site before slowly drifting across downtown.
The dome has been replaced by the 1.6 billion US dollar Mercedes-Benz Stadium next door.
A five-storey tall industrial strength curtain between the two stadiums had been erected to protect the new venue from damage, officials said.
Only 83 feet, less than 30 yards, separated the two venues.
The new stadium is home to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United.
In addition to the retractable roof that opens like a camera lens, Mercedes-Benz Stadium boasts a 1,100-foot "halo board" video display and a giant steel sculpture of a falcon with its 70-foot wingspan at one of the main entrances.
Several streets and parts of Atlanta's transport system were closed to accommodate the blast and spectators.
The idea for the Georgia Dome dated to the mid-1980s, when civic leaders recommended a domed football stadium adjoining the city's largest convention centre, the Georgia World Congress Centre.
The Georgia Dome has been the site of high school football state championships, Peach Bowls, SEC championship games, two Super Bowls, 1996 Olympic basketball, three Final Four NCAA basketball tournaments, concerts, pro wrestling, and other events.