Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Find Oil Leak Threatening Chuuk Lagoon

01.09.2008
Scientists and volunteers affiliated with Earthwatch have uncovered signs of an oil leak in Chuuk (formerly known as Truk) Lagoon, a popular dive destination in Micronesia

Earthwatch volunteers and scientists, who are conducting the first-ever comprehensive survey of the area, recently discovered a long oil slick coming from the sunken oil tanker Hoyo Maru and a smaller surface slick originating from the Rio de Janeiro Maru, a former passenger vessel that was converted to a submarine tender (support ship for submarines) by the Japanese navy during World War II.

There are 52 documented World War II shipwrecks and three oil tankers found in Chuuk Lagoon, with an estimated 32,000,000 litres of oil still secured inside. Dynamite fishing practices, storms and human activities (such as irresponsible anchoring) are destabilizing some of the wrecks, increasing the chances of an oil spill.

“This could have a devastating effect on the marine environment and negatively impact Chuuk’s tourist industry,” said Dr. Bill Jeffery from James Cook University, who leads the Earthwatch research project. “Some areas of mangroves that provide breeding grounds for many fish species could be completely decimated.”

“There is reason to believe that Hoyo Maru is leaking from her bunker, which means there could be a lot more oil left to spill. We’re hoping that Japanese historians can help us to determine if she went down with a full tank so we can estimate the full scale of the threat,” Jeffery said.

The coral encrusted wrecks attract a diverse array of marine life, including manta-rays, turtles, sharks and corals. In 2007, 266 species of reef fish were recorded by the Earthwatch teams and in 2006 the rare coral Acropora pichoni was identified. (It had never been found at this depth (18 metres) or on an artificial reef before.)

A report from Dr. Jeffery has been submitted to the Chuuk State Department of Marine Resources and the Chuuk Historic Preservation Office who will liaise with the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) to investigate how the oil pollution can be addressed. Earthwatch dive teams will return in November to continue their assessment into the ecological values of the site. Read the report here:

http://www.earthwatch.org/europe/downloads/Newsroom/Oil_leaking_Chuuk_report.pdf

*Chuuk, an island area formerly known as ‘Truk’, is part of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), found in the central Caroline Islands of the Western Pacific. During World War II, Chuuk Lagoon was bombed for over 18 months by the Allied forces and was considered a potential target for an atomic attack. The waters became a graveyard for the Japanese sailors and pilots killed in ships and aircraft.

Earthwatch is the world's largest environmental volunteer nonprofit organization. Its mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch was founded in Boston in 1971 and affiliate offices are based in the UK, Australia, and Japan. With approximately 120 projects fielding in more than 55 countries worldwide, Earthwatch focuses its research efforts on climate change, endangered species and resources, marine biology and ocean conservation, and threatened traditional cultures.

Kristen Kusek | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.earthwatch.org.

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>