New type of rock formed from plastic waste
New York: Researchers have discovered a new type of rock created by melted plastic trash on a beach in Hawaii.
The new rock material dubbed plastiglomerate is the result of melted plastic trash on beaches mixing with sediment, basaltic lava fragments and organic debris, such as shells.
Plastic does not break down easily and is estimated to persist in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years.
At Hawaii`s Kamilo Beach, Captain Charles Moore, an oceanographer with the Algalita Marine Research Institute in California, found that plastic, if melted, can actually become one with rocks, sediment and other geologic materials.
"He found some plastic had been melted to rocks, and other pieces of natural material had also been stuck on it," said study lead author Patricia Corcoran, a geologist at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in Canada.
"He didn`t know what to call it. It`s possible other people have found [the plastic conglomerates] at other locations before Captain Moore did, but nobody had thought to report it or identify it," Corcoran said.
The researchers discovered there are two types of plastiglomerates at Kamilo Beach: In situ and clastic.
In situ plastiglomerate is more rare than the clastic variety, and forms when "plastic melts on rock and becomes incorporated into the rock outcrop," Corcoran told `Live Science`, adding that the melted plastic can also get into the rock vesicles, or cavities.
Clastic plastiglomerates are loose rocky structures, composed of a combination of basalt, coral, shells, woody debris and sand that have been glued together by melted plastic.
When Moore discovered Kamilo Beach`s plastiglomerates, he hypothesised that molten lava had melted the plastic to create the new rock.
However, the researchers found that lava had not flowed in that area since before plastics were first invented.
The researchers then concluded that people inadvertently created the plastiglomerates after burning plastic debris, either intentionally to try to destroy the plastic or accidentally by way of campfires.
The team believes the material could be present at a lot of other beaches around the world, particularly in areas where people camp or live.
"I would say that anywhere you have abundant plastic debris and humans, there will probably be plastiglomerates," Corcoran said.
The plastiglomerate is described in the journal GSA Today.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Check mahresult.nic.in for Maharashtra HSC Result 2015 to be announced at 1 pm on May 27
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi