September 25, 2023
Brazilian researchers discover ‘terrifying’ plastic rocks on distant island


The geology of Brazil’s volcanic Trindade Island has fascinated scientists for years, however the discovery of rocks constructed from plastic particles on this distant turtle refuge is sparking alarm.

Melted plastic has change into intertwined with rocks on the island, situated 1,140 km (708 miles) from the southeastern state of Espirito Santo, which researchers say is proof of people’ rising affect over the earth’s geological cycles.

“That is new and terrifying on the identical time, as a result of air pollution has reached geology,” stated Fernanda Avelar Santos, a geologist on the Federal College of Parana.

Santos and her workforce ran chemical exams to search out out what sort of plastics are within the rocks known as “plastiglomerates” as a result of they’re product of a mix of sedimentary granules and different particles held collectively by plastic.

“We recognized (the air pollution) primarily comes from fishing nets, which is quite common particles on Trinidade Island’s seashores,” Santos stated. “The (nets) are dragged by the marine currents and accumulate on the seaside. When the temperature rises, this plastic melts and turns into embedded with the seaside’s pure materials.”

Brazilian researchers discover ‘terrifying’ plastic rocks on distant island

Trindade Island is without doubt one of the world’s most vital conservation spots for inexperienced turtles, or Chelonia mydas, with hundreds arriving annually to put their eggs. The one human inhabitants on Trindade are members of the Brazilian navy, which maintains a base on the island and protects the nesting turtles.

“The place the place we discovered these samples (of plastic) is a completely preserved space in Brazil, close to the place inexperienced turtles lay their eggs,” Santos stated.

The invention stirs questions on people’ legacy on the earth, says Santos.

“We speak a lot concerning the Anthropocene, and that is it,” Santos stated, referring to a proposed geological epoch outlined by people’ influence on the planet’s geology and ecosystems.

“The air pollution, the rubbish within the sea and the plastic dumped incorrectly within the oceans is turning into geological materials … preserved within the earth’s geological data.”