In one of the most isolated places on Earth, the island of Trindade, which is more than a thousand kilometers away from the coast of Brazil, a disturbing sign of human influence has been found. Scientists have found stones on a volcanic island formed from plastic debris floating in the ocean.
This is stated in the study of the geologist Fernanda Avelar Santos, which is described by Phys. The scientist believes that her find is direct evidence that the Anthropocene continues on Earth – an informal era during which human activity began to play an important role in the Earth’s ecosystem.
Santos first stumbled across plastic rocks in 2019 while doing geological research on Trindade. Then she worked on the territory of the reserve, known as Shell Beach – this is the world’s largest breeding site for the endangered green turtle. In the course of her research, she noticed a large outcrop of amazing-looking blue-green rocks.
The geologist took samples of these rocks to her laboratory on the continent, where they were analyzed. As it turned out, it was a new kind of geological formation, combining the materials used by the Earth to form rocks for billions of years, with a new ingredient – plastic debris.
“We concluded that humans are now acting as a geological agent, influencing processes that were previously entirely natural, such as the formation of rocks,” Santos said.
According to her, this fits into the idea of the Anthropocene, which scientists talk a lot about these days.
“This type of rock-like plastic will be preserved in the geological record and mark the Anthropocene,” the scientist believes.
She admitted that the find alarmed and upset her. The reason for this is that the isolation of the island of Trindade has turned it into a haven for various species – sea birds, fish found only there, almost extinct crabs and green turtles.
In addition to animals, about 30 people live on the island, who are members of a small military base and research center.
“That’s why it was even scarier to find something like that – and on one of the most ecologically important beaches,” Santos admitted.
The geologist suggests that as the rocks erode, they will leach microplastics into the environment and further pollute the environment.
The main ingredient in the stones found by Santos were the remains of fishing nets. Ocean currents have also brought a large amount of bottles, household waste and other debris from around the world to the island, she said.
According to her, Trindade is “the most virgin place that I have ever seen.”
“How vulnerable it is to the debris polluting our oceans shows how widespread this problem is around the world,” the scientist concluded.
In her research, Santos also found that similar stones had been found in Italy, Japan, the UK and the Hawaiian Islands since 2014. But the island of Trindade is the most remote place on the planet where they have been found so far.
Earlier, GLOBAL HAPPENINGS talked about scientists who discovered minerals unknown to mankind in a 17-ton meteorite.
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