The World’s Glaciers Are Sponging Up Loads of Nuclear Fallout, But You Shouldn’t Worry — Yet
By Brandon Specktor, Senior Writer Live Science
The world’s ice is rapidly disappearing, but not without a trace. Ancient artifacts, frozen corpses, long-dead viruses and loads of trapped greenhouse gases are the parting gifts left behind as Earth’s melting glaciers and permafrost retreat. And now, thanks to ongoing global research, a new (and concerning) item can be added to that list: nuclear fallout.
In a recent survey of glaciers around the world, an international team of scientists discovered elevated levels of fallout radionuclides — radioactive atoms that result from nuclear accidents and weapons tests — in every single glacier studied.
“We wanted to show this is a global issue and not just localized near sources of nuclear contamination,” said study researcher Caroline Clason, a University of Plymouth lecturer in physical geography. [Images of Melt: Earth’s Vanishing Ice]