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Beach Sands Near Hiroshima Are Still Packed With 1945 Nuclear Fallout Debris



Some examples of the diverse range of particles collected from beach sands in Japan's Motoujima Peninsula.
Image: MMA Wannier et al. , 2019 / Anthropocene

Unusual and abundant glassy spheres found in the beach near the Japanese city of Hiroshima are remnants of the 1945 atomic bomb blast.

On August 6, 1945, a US B-29 bomber dropped at atomic bomb over Hiroshima. In an instant, some 80,000 people were killed. 4 square miles (10 square kilometers), damaging upwards of 90 percent of all the structures in the city.

But what does this mean? Anthropocene is "the first published record and description of the fallout resulting from the destruction of an urban environment by atomic bombing," according to the authors of the new paper. The falls on the Motoujina Peninsula in Hiroshima Bay are surprisingly littered with this fallout debris to a depth of around 4 inches (10 centimeters).

Image: MMA Wannier et al., 2019 / Anthropocene

Described as "millimeter-sized, aerodynamically-shaped debris," these particles. “/>

Hiroshima city and bay area with location of the A-bomb hypocenter included glass spheroids, glass filaments, and melted composite compounds. The debris is reminiscent of the spherical particles found in the ground. It is 66 million years ago. first tested the atomic bomb, according to the paper's lead author, geologist Mario Wannier. Hiroshima were packed with materials such as iron, steel, and rubber.

"In the surprise of finding particles, the big question for me what: You have a city, and a minute later you have no city. There is a question about: 'Where is the city-where is the material?' It's an incredible story, "Wannier said in a Berkeley Lab statement.

Back in 2015, Wannier was sifting through particles of sand from the beach just outside the city of Hiroshima. 66-million-year-old Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) time period. He was looking for marine life, but the weird glassy spheres in the mixture. The glassy spheres were between 0.5 millimeters to 1 millimeters in diameter. Some were fused together, and others were shaped like a teardrop. But unlike the spheroids pulled from the K-Pg sediment, these particles contained a diversity of materials coated in multiple layers of silica.

In each kilogram of sand taken from Motoujina Peninsula beach, Wannier and his University of California, Berkeley colleagues found the spheroids and other unusual glass particles made up 0.6 to 2.5 percent of the total sample. The centimeter contains 2.300 to 3,100 tons of these particles. That is, the stuff that once made the city of Hiroshima.

Using the conventional and scanning electron microscopes and the help of UC Berkeley mineralogist Rudy Wenk to rubber-like substances. The team found evidence of aluminum, silicon, calcium, carbon, and oxygen, and thus traces of building materials, such as pure iron and steel. Hiroshima at the time, including concrete, marble, stainless steel, and rubber. These particles were formed in extreme conditions, which reached 3,330 degrees Fahrenheit (1,830 degrees Celsius), according to the research. The tremendous explosion turns into liquid material, blasting the melted material into the sky.

The authors of the study have found that this is not the case fire at a nearby Mazda plans in 2004 and a local site where fireworks are displayed annually. That said, "no alternative scenario to the A-bomb explosion can provide a coherent explanation for all our observations," the authors noted in the new study, concluding that:

This study interprets the large volumes of fallout debris generated under extreme Hiroshima August 6th, 1945 atomic bomb aerial detonation. The chemical composition of the debris provides clues to their origin, especially with respect to city building materials.

As noted, similar spheroids were found at the Trinity test site in New Mexico. But these glasses, dubbed trinitites, were painted near Hiroshima. Accordingly, the authors of the new study have dubbed the new material "Hiroshimaites" on account of its distinctive and diverse chemical composition.

Looking ahead, the researchers would like to explore the soils near Nagasaki to determine if existent particles exist.


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