Monday, June 9, 2014

Litter to littoral

Yet another negative legacy of our tenure on earth has turned up. Geologist Patricia Corcoran of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and Capt. Charles Moore, of the oceanographic research vessel Alguita, stumbled upon a new type of rock on Kamilo Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. These weren't igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary. They were cobbled together from volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, coral, and plastic. When they went looking, they found the stones in all 21 of the area sites they surveyed. The scientists dubbed them plastiglomerates,” and explain that they can form anywhere there is abundant plastic debris and a heat source, such as a forest fire or lava flows. Melting allows the plastic to cement together the natural fragments and flow into larger rocks to fill in the cracks. The mass of plastic produced since 1950 is close to 6 billion metric tons, and none of it has yet decayed.


  1. An awesome post, Christine, and I wish all could see it and take it to heart. It's time to ban nonbiodegradable packaging.

  2. Dear Lord!


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