You know how scientists take geological maps out and are able to match layers of rocks to specific date and time of a landscape formation? It is quite fascinating to be able to point directly to a specific era or an event that has had a significant impact on nature only by following patterns in rocks.
Now, all those anti-green people, who think that environmentalists are wasting time and talking nonsense, can celebrate. The era, in which we live, goes down in the history of human kind as the time when a new rock is formed- one made of melted plastic waste and ocean debris.
The new rocks are referred to as plastiglomerates. The scientists from University of Western Ontario, who discovered them, explain that the formation occurs on beaches, where plastic waste is melted and mixed with organic debris, sediments and fragments of lava. The new materials are extremely strong, dense and persistent, meaning that they will be preserved for years and will serve as an indicator for the irresponsible and careless behavior of our society.
Plastiglomerates are currently found only in Kamilo Beach, Hawaii (video), the dirtiest beach on our planet. They are present in two forms, either as loose rocks, or as part of larger rock formations. The former are much more abundant, and consist of melted plastics and shells, corals, woody debris and sands all glued to each other. The latter are still quite rare, but these are essentially plastics incorporated into massive rock formations.
It is for certain that the rocks are formed thanks to dumping of our plastic waste. The scientists initially gave humanity the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that flowing lava could have melted the plastic and integrated it into rocks. Unfortunately, this theory was quickly rejected as volcano eruptions in the area have not occurred for many years. A likely option is that burning of plastics on the beach by local communities has triggered the formation, which also leads scientists to believe that the rocks might well be present at many other favorite camping beach sites.
Image (c) Wikimedia Commons