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Cold War Nuclear Tests’ Bomb Carbon Found In Ocean Floor Species

Even after years, the effects of nuclear bomb tested in the Cold War have shown to exist in the form of small traces of radioactive carbon, especially deep down in the oceans. The researchers found the crustaceans’ muscle tissues to have high levels of radioactive carbon. These species found in the deepest trenches of the Pacific Ocean are found to be affected by the bomb carbon as the molecules in their body show its presence. The 1950s and ’60s nuclear tests have been found miles away in the deep ocean. The human pollution is also feared to soon enter the ocean’s food chain. The humans’ actions are found to have disturbing effects on ocean life forms. According to Weidong Sun from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the carbon has been found to have entered the ocean food chain already.

The radioactive carbon (carbon-14) in such high levels in the oceans was the least expected but the current study has proved the human activities effect on the oceans. At the time of nuclear tests, the air showed a double amount of radioactive carbon. The neutrons released by the bomb reacted with nitrogen in the air leading to the carbon-14 formation. Though the nuclear test halt had lowered the radioactive carbon levels in the air, it was already too late. The marine animals have fallen prey to it as it fell from the air into the ocean surfaces.

The crustaceans that can withstand lack of light, extreme cold, and high pressure was found to survive on the dead remains that landed on the ocean floors. The carbon dating process helps understand the age of an organism through carbon-14. It generally takes 1000 years for the ocean to pass on the bomb carbon but instead, it was found to move faster. Archaeologist Sturt Manning and colleagues at Cornell University have found radiocarbon dating, a key tool archaeologists use to find the age of plants and objects made with organic material as inefficient. The historically used method is currently under the scanner in terms of effectiveness.

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