A dust explosion is one of the scariest things that flour mill operators and people who create wood dust have to fear. When you make a combustible powder into an aerosol and then apply some kind of spark, you get a detonation that rivals dynamite in terms of pure destructive power.

Of course, the same principle of providing a large surface area and airborne particles of something that'll burn gets a hell of a lot scarier when the substance in question is a highly flammable liquid. Because flour burns nicely, but gasoline burns REALLY well, and atomizing it and providing a spark is literally capable of moving a 5000lb car.

"Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion", or BLEVE, is a dust explosion on steroids.

The short version of how does this happen happens when a pressurized system holding a liquefied gas (e.g. a steel tank) ruptures under pressure and the contents immediately flash to vapor, in the presence of fire. Imagine for example a propane tank happily sitting there full of liquid propane, when the building it's in catches fire. The pressurized tank becomes a hell of a lot more pressurized as the tank gets hotter and hotter until it blows open and the liquid instantly turns into a gas. And the contents ignite about an oh-no second later. Suddenly. With a very big earth shaking kaboom, in the words of Marvin the Martian.

The layman's term for this is something to the effect of "Jesus tap dancing Christ what the cunting fuck was that shock wave of uncontrollable pants-shitting inducing levels of kinetic energy". Usually expressed by a coroner called in to put together the poor bastard who was standing too close.

It's the main reason why firefighters, even though these days we do everything from relief valves to making damn sure canisters of liquefied combustible gas are kept the hell away from flames - will say to themselves "Oh no, oh no, oh God no" when they get the call that there's a three alarm fire down at the chemical plant. And they need to hose down the buildings next to the propane tank warehouse in order to save them.