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Gassy cows blow up barn in Germany: Methane build up blows roof off cow shed

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Gassy dairy cows caused an explosion in a cow shed in Germany Monday, officials said. A build up of methane gas released by the dairy cows was believed to be the blame for the explosion, which damaged the roof and injured one of the cows in the central German town of Rasdorf, according to ABC News on Jan. 28.

Bovine belches and flatulence from the 90 dairy cows in the barn apparently allowed high levels of the gas to build up. Then a static electric charge ignited the gas which exploded with flashes of flames, according to police in Hesse state.

The explosion caused one cow some minor burn injuries, but no humans were hurt. Emergency responders attended the cow at the farm, and also took gas readings to test for the risk of further blasts, local media reported yesterday.

Cows are believed capable of emitting up to 500 liters, (or about 130 gallons), of methane each per day, according to the BBC. Many people are unaware of the role livestock farming plays in global warming.

Cattle ranching is a polluting business. Methane is a "potent greenhouse gas", and cows also release large amounts of ammonia. That can lead to toxic acidification of soil and water bodies.

Because the cows each produce hundreds of liters of methane every day, the gas build-up can reach an explosive level if it reaches the right concentrations.

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