Feeds

Plastic is the new rock, say Geologists

'Plastiglomerate' layer entering the geological record

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Geologists have identified what they say is a new class of rock.

'Plastiglomerates', as the new rocks are called, form when plastic debris washes up on beaches, breaks down into small pieces, becomes mixed in sand or sticks to other rocks and solidifies into an agglomerate mixing all of the above. Such rocks, say US and Canadian boffins in a paper titled An anthropogenic marker horizon in the future rock record, have “great potential to form a marker horizon of human pollution, signalling the occurrence of the informal Anthropocene epoch.”

The two types of plastiglomerate

The three types of plastiglomerate and an example of the stuff on a rocks shelf (D)

The paper identifies four types of plastiglomerate, namely:
A: In situ plastiglomerate wherein molten plastic is adhered to the surface of a basalt flow

B: Clastic plastiglomerate containing molten plastic and basalt and coral fragments

C: Plastic amygdales in a basalt flow

About a fifth of plastiglomerates consist of “fishing-related debris” such as “netting, ropes, nylon fishing line, as well as remnants of oyster spacer tubes”. “Confetti”, the “embrittled remains of intact products, such as containers” is also very prevalent, but whole containers and lids are also found in plastiglomerates.

The paper explains that the plastiglomerates studied come mainly from a single Hawaiian beach that, thanks to local currents, collects an unusual amount of plastic. But the authors also note that as some samples were formed when trapped within organic material, while others were the result of plastic being melted onto rock, plastiglomerates can pop up anywhere. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.