Mercury Pollution has Reached the Deepest Trench, Plus the Mystery of California Earthquake Swarm Answered

In a report by Newsweek, a team of researchers has detected mercury pollution at the bottom of the deepest trench in the world: Mariana Trench. Pollution in the sea is nothing new, but scientists have yet to realize the extent of the damage man’s activities on land has done.

According to the experts, the substance they detected is known as methylmercury, which is the toxic form of mercury an d could easily accumulate in certain animals, including the crustaceans and fishes living in the trench that reaches a depth of up to 36,000 feet.

Although the experts say that mercury could be released by natural phenomena like volcanic eruptions, most of the mercury they detected in the trench resulted from human activities like metal mining and production.

Gathering Samples

In a research led by Joel Blum from the University of Michigan, the team acquired samples from the fishes and crustaceans in Mariana Trench from the depths of around 23,000 to 33,000 feet, located near the Philippines and the Kermadec trench in New Zealand.

They detected mercury in the samples they gathered with the chemical signature of the substance, indicating that it came from the atmosphere and ended up in the water through the rain.

Blum did say that some of the mercury they have found in the samples might have occurred naturally, but the researchers believe most of it most likely came from human activity.

Additionally, the researcher said the mercury emission from humans had exceeded natural emission by three-fold.

“The key finding is that mercury released by humans and deposited from the atmosphere to the surface of the oceans is being transported to the most remote and deepest environments in the ocean,” Blum said.

Scientists Trying to Understand Earthquake Swarm in California

According to Science Alert, experts in the field were able to unearth the mystery’s answer by creating a 3D model of the fault zone with the help of a machine-learning algorithm.

Based on their study, they found that some fluid might be the culprit, probably carbon dioxide in liquid form or water, which possibly breached a barrier of the underground rock and changed the balance of pressure and the friction along the fault line and Mercury Pollution.

This could have led to a series of minor tremors in the area.

Unlike a significant earthquake wherein one major event is followed by minor tremors, an earthquake swarm does not have any significant event.

The Cahuilla swarm, as it is known, occurred near Mt. San Jacinto in southern California.

“We used to think of faults more in terms of two dimensions: like giant cracks extending into the earth,” said Ross. “What we’re learning is that you really need to understand the fault in three dimensions to get a clear picture of why earthquake swarms occur.”

Originally Publish at: https://www.techtimes.com/

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