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Cold-War-era toxic waste could be released by Greenland’s melting ice

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It may sound like a storyline straight out of a Godzilla movie, but researchers are warning that toxic waste from a long-abandoned Cold War-era camp could leach into nearby ecosystems as a result of warming temperatures in Greenland.

It was thought that the hazardous waste would stay buried and frozen forever beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, but climate change is warming the Arctic and causing portions of the ice sheet to melt, the researchers reported in a new study.

“In the past, militaries, industry and even scientists have given little thought to the lasting impact of their activities, including dangerous waste left behind,” Laurence Smith, a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of “The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future” (Dutton Adult, 2010), told Live Science in an email. “That attitude is changing but not gone, and this study shows how the activities of the past are with us still.” [See Photos of the Cold War-Era Military Base]

According to the new study, waste from the Cold War-era camp, known as Camp Century, covers 136 acres (0.55 square kilometers), or about the size of 100 football fields. This includes approximately 53,000 gallons (200,000 liters) of diesel fuel; building materials; and 63,000 gallons (240,000 liters) of wastewater, which includes a large amount of sewage. – READ MORE

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