Bombs, chemical weapons and other dangerous material from the Second World War still pose a serious threat today.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Mercury from WWII submarine wreck pollutes sediments off Norway
The German submarine U-864 was sunk in World War II off the Norwegian island of Fedje, loaded with 67 tons of metallic mercury. When the wreck was discovered in 2003, some of the mercury was found leaking from broken containers. Now, researchers show that this material has contaminated sediments surrounding the wreck. But surprisingly, the scientists think the marine food web may not be substantially affected by the pollution, based on their analysis of crabs sampled near the sub.
Photos reveal the US military equipment dumped at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean because it was too expensive to bring home
It's called Million Dollar Point - an apt title for a treasure trove of US military equipment left dumped at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean after the Second World War. Amazing pictures have revealed the stash - and huge waste - of vehicles and other apparatus in waters off the island paradise of Vanuatu. The US military had been using Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, as a base to launch attacks on the Japanese. The wreckage includes, bulldozers, jeeps, trucks, semi-trailers, fork lifts, tractors, clothing, corrugated iron and even Coke bottles.
Radioactive Wreck of WWII Aircraft Carrier Discovered Near San Francisco Bay
After more than 60 years — and some of the most intense action that a military vessel has ever seen — a World War II-era aircraft carrier has been re-discovered off the coast of San Francisco, still larded with its final cargo: hundreds of barrels of radioactive waste. The U.S.S. Independence was found in April by archaeologists using sonar-equipped submersible vehicles near the Farallon Islands, some 65 kilometers from San Francisco, California, not far from where it was sunk by the U.S. Navy 64 years ago.
US military has dumped millions of unexploded bombs along the coastline
Millions of pounds of unexploded bombs lurk in the Gulf of Mexico and around the US coastline new research suggests. Oceanographers at Texas A&M University looked at two weapons dumpsites in the Gulf of Mexico and found millions of pounds of unexploded ordinances or UXO. "The amount that has been dumped was unbelievable. No one seems to have reported seeing explosives in the Gulf. We felt it was our responsibility to report it," said study author William Bryant. The researchers estimate that at least 31 million pounds of explosives and other weapons are likely scattered around the US coastline.
3 million gallons of oil leaked from WWII-era tanker SS Montebello after it was torpedoed, so the wreck it not currently a threat
Tests on a WWII-era sunken oil tanker lying 900 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean show no threat of a looming environmental disaster. The SS Montebello was carrying 3 million gallons of oil when it was sunk 7 miles off the California coast by a Japanese submarine in December 1941. All crew members survived, but the fate of oil had been a mystery. Recently, a multiagency expedition launched a $2.3 million effort to test whether the oil was still aboard the rusting vessel, resting south of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. But results show the oil has vanished, its 18 tanks emptied. Researchers posited that after the torpedo attack, there was an initial spill that traveled south of the wreck site.
Torpedoed WWII-era tankers leaking oil in Florida, elsewhere
Imagine Deepwater Horizon oil spill happening in slow motion, millions of gallons of oil fouling beaches over decades instead of months. That's the kind of long-term disaster federal environmental officials say could happen as thousands of WWII-era shipwrecks erode in coastal waters around the world. After 70 years under the sea, those ships have reached the point where their steel fuel tanks and cargo holds could soon give way, emptying their contents into the water. One of the ships on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's watch list is the Joseph M. Cudahy, which rests in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida.
Chemical weapons the Soviet Union dumped in the Baltic Sea in 1945 can explode at any time
Cleaning up the Baltic Sea of chemical weapons has been a debate for several decades now, but nothing actually happens. According to the Soviet military archives the USSR buried in the Baltic Sea 71,469 aviation bombs with yperite, 14,258 chloracetophene bombs, 8,027 adamsite bombs, 408,565 artillery projectiles with yperite, 34,592 chemical land mines, 10,420 chemical smoke mines, 1,004 containers with 1,506 tons of yperite, 8,429 barrels with 1,030 tons of adamsite and divinilchlorarsine, 169 tons of containers of cyanide salt, chloroarsine and cyanarsine.
US Army: 1,168,000 pounds of chemical weapons we dumped off Hawaii should stay put (Article no longer available from the original source)
Chemical weapons dumped in deep water 5 miles south of Pearl Harbor after World War Two should remain at the site because moving them could pose more of a threat, the U.S. Army said. Records reveals the Army disposed 16,000 bombs at the site after the war - each bomb contains 73 pounds of the chemical agent mustard. Research scientist Margo Edwards said the University of Hawaii study showed the munitions aren't a hazard, but that they're deteriorating and should be monitored. The military's Explosives Safety Board thinks the safest way to deal with underwater munitions is to leave them in place, but weapons that pose an imminent danger should be removed.
Egypt intensifies de-mining of World War II battlefields
Egypt is planning to use the site of a key World War II battle to develop its oil, natural gas and tourism industries. To do so huge minefields left after the war have to be cleared. The area targeted for de-mining follows the Mediterranean coast from El Alamein to the Libyan border, scene of fierce combat 1941-1943. Egypt claims 20% of the world's remaining landmines and unexploded ordnance were left behind by Allied and Axis armies. The German commander, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, is told to have ordered half a million mines to be laid to protect his positions at El Alamein. 1981-1999 Egypt cleared 3 million mines.
Swiss army dumbed 9,000 tons of toxic WW2 munitions into the lake Thun
At the bottom of the lake Thun lies troubling evidence of Switzerland's World War Two defence effort - posing a potentially devastating threat to the Alpine nation. 700 feet beneath the surface lies 9,000 tons of Swiss army munitions (artillery shells, hand grenades, and explosives) meant to defend Switzerland against a Nazi invasion. The underwater ordnance remained out of sight and minds until a decade ago when fishermen noticed that the lake's whitefishes are deformed. Lately the fishermen have been netting bits of dumped munitions out of the lake - with the few fish they still manage to catch.
Norway: Nazi u-boat U-864, which contains 65 tons of mercury, to be raised (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Norwegian Government has decided that the wreck of the WWII German submarine U-864 which contains 65 tons of mercury, is to be raised, and that the seabed be overlaid with clean sand. The wreck, located off the Norwegian west coast, near Fedje, has long been viewed as an environmental hazard. However, experts have disagreed on whether or not the wreck should be raised or if it would be better to build a sarcophagus which would isolate the mercury from the marine environment. The head of the Marine Safety Directorate, Magne Roedland, decided the u-boat wreck should be raised.
Paradise island threatened by wrecked World War II oil tanker
60 years on and the impacts of world war 2 are still being felt. A sunken oil tanker, one of dozens on the bottom of Micronesia's Chuuk Lagoon, is releasing purple diesel bubbles. On 31 July, the oil slick was 5km long. Corrosion experts say the 52 wrecks in Chuuk Lagoon could collapse in a few years, yet no-one knows how much fuel was inside the vessels when they went down. The problem could take on huge proportions, as over 380 other tankers lie at the bottom of the Pacific. Maritime archaeologist Bill Jeffery is seeking Japanese historians and shipping experts who could estimate the contents of the Hoyo Maru's oil storage tanks.
Shipwrecks from 1715 and 100,000 tonnes of WWII bombs threaten the Baltic Sea pipeline
When Sweden scuttled 20 huge wooden warships filled with stones in 1715, it was an attempt to block the Danish fleet. The result was a chain of jagged boobytraps - now a valuable maritime archaelogical site - that served as a frontline defence. Now those wrecks could scuttle the essential part of a European energy plan: the construction of a 1200km gas pipeline along the floor of the Baltic Sea. But the seabed route, known as Nord Stream, is turning into an obstacle course: 100,000 tonnes of unexploded WWII munition lie along the route, and the German Navy is worried that one of its live shells might hit the pipeline and set off an explosion during exercises.
How Green Were the Nazis? Environment in the Third Reich
It is true that Adolf Hitler and his crew were A-number-one landscape-impacters. London got plenty impacted by the Nazis' environmental outreach program, as did cities like Leningrad, Stalingrad, Dresden, and Berlin. To be fair, I did learn a lot from book "How Green Were the Nazis". I already knew that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian with a taste for nonalcoholic beer, but I didn't know that SS boss Heinrich Himmler also eschewed meat or that Hermann Goering had a "sincere interest in forest conservation." Nazi party secretary Rudolf Hess was a devotee of organic gardening. Did you know that there was an organic herb garden at Dachau?