Ice with radioactive chlorine from atomic bombs found in Antarctica

A group of scientists found remnants of Ice with radioactive chlorine from atomic bombs in Antarctica, specifically in the area where Vostok is based on Russian research.

Ice with radioactive chlorine
Ice with radioactive chlorine

According to the first inquiries, these radioactive remains would belong to old marine nuclear tests conducted by the United States in the area between the 50s and 60s, when the Cold War conflict was still in full swing.

The study carried out in the area showed that these nuclear exercises left high concentrations of radioactive artificial chlorine isotopes, which over the years went down from the stratosphere and accumulated in various ice sheets in Antarctica.

Radioactive ice

The investigations carried out by the experts also showed that in that place a gaseous substance is emitted different from other places on the planet, undoubtedly related to the consequences of these nuclear tests.

Scientists normally estimate that these chlorine isotopes usually disappear after a few years of testing, but in this case, it was not at all like this since they have managed to stay in the area for more than 60 years.

Apparently these remains, which accumulate in the atmosphere, descend through the snowfall that occurs on the continent and following these researchers confirmed that in areas where more of these climatic phenomena occur, a greater amount of radioactive chlorine accumulates.

Ice with radioactive chlorine
The Vostok area is still releasing anthropogenic chlorine-36 into the atmosphere. Credit: AGU

Moreover, the measurements have delivered that the levels of this chemical in the Vostok base, accumulated between 1949 and 2007 are up to 10 times higher than other areas of the Earth, so it is something that does not stop worrying them.

However, the group of experts stressed that the levels of radioactivity in the area are still low to badly harm the ecosystem of the place and also the environment, so they are now focused on understanding how this chlorine behaves in ice to understand how the climate has evolved over time on the planet.

Source: AGU

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