Sun, Jul 23, 2017 | updated 02:25 AM IST

Melting ice sheet could unearth Cold War-era hazardous waste

Updated: Aug 05, 2016 13:26 IST      
Melting ice sheet could unearth Cold War-era hazardous waste

Washington D.C, Aug 5 (ANI): Thought to be frozen in time, the Cold War memories may soon find their way back to the world.

Climate change is threatening to expose hazardous waste at an abandoned camp thought to be buried forever in the Greenland Ice Sheet, a new research out of York University has found.

Camp Century, a United States military base built within the Greenland ice sheet in 1959, doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic during the Cold War. When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall.

"Two generations ago, people were interring waste in different areas of the world, and now climate change is modifying those sites," said lead author William Colgan. "It's a new breed of climate change challenge we have to think about."

The study's team took an inventory of the wastes at Camp Century and ran climate model simulations. The researchers also analyzed historical US army engineering documents to determine where and how deep the wastes were buried and how much that part of the ice cap had moved since the 1960s. They found the waste at Camp Century covers 55 hectares, roughly the size of 100 football fields.

They estimate the site contains 200,000 litres of diesel fuel, enough for a car to circle the globe 80 times, and 240,000 litres of waste water, including sewage. Based on building materials used in the Arctic at the time, the authors speculate the site contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pollutants toxic to human health, along with an unknown volume of low-level radioactive coolant from the nuclear generator.

Camp Century's waste presents a non-trivial environmental hazard, said Colgan. When the ice melts, pollutants could be transported to the ocean, where they could disrupt marine ecosystems.

The study is published in journal Geophysical Research Letters. (ANI)

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Updated: Jul 22, 2017 15:55 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): An Indian start-up foraying into space technology is coming up with a propulsion system for satellites known as Microwave Thruster, designed to run on water as fuel medium.

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3-D scanning complex objects with water

Updated: Jul 22, 2017 13:02 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 22 (ANI): A team of computer scientists and engineers has brought next-gen 3-D scanning of complex objects closer to reality with the help of water.

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Updated: Jul 21, 2017 12:33 IST     

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Updated: Jul 21, 2017 11:21 IST     

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When Mars got photobombed by its moon Phobos

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 09:50 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 21 (ANI): NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured Phobos, one of Mars' two moons, during its orbital trek around the Red Planet.

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NASA's HERA XIII crew returns home to slumber

Updated: Jul 20, 2017 13:32 IST     

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Updated: Jul 20, 2017 10:39 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 20 (ANI): If Plastic Man, Elastigirl and Mr Fantastic were to take up arms against Magneto, they'd be at a serious disadvantage, according to the latest research from Christian Binek.

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Updated: Jul 14, 2017 19:19 IST     

Oslo [Norway], Jul 14 (ANI): A team of researchers has shed some light on how meditation actually affects your brain.

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Trouble reading smaller font? Turn to visual illusion

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 10:28 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): A recent study has found that exposure to a common visual illusion may enhance your ability to read fine print.

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Soon, watch 3-D movies at home sans glasses

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 10:27 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): A team of researchers is trying to bring glasses-free 3-D technology to your living room.

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A 'larger-than-Earth' sunspot is turning toward us

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 09:52 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has detected a massive sunspot, called Active Region 2665, that's bigger than Earth.

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When NASA's Juno stared right into Jupiter's angry red eye

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 09:26 IST     

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Antarctica just lost a 'Delaware-sized' iceberg!

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 07:49 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): A massive iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware split off from Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf sometime between July 10 and July 12.

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London [UK], July 10 (ANI): Google Doodle, today, celebrates Swedish scientist Eva Ekeblad 293rd birthday.

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A urine test can predict recurrence of cancer

Updated: Jul 09, 2017 14:55 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], July 9 (ANI): A team of researchers have developed a simple urine test to more accurately predict the recurrence of bladder cancer.

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A 'concrete' solution for air pollution?

Updated: Jul 09, 2017 05:48 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 9 (ANI): Air pollution is the world's single biggest environmental health risk and now, a recent study could be a roadmap to tackle the problem.

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