This is the beautiful Trinidade Island, which lies over 700 miles off the coast of Brazil. Pictured is geologist and researcher Fernanda Avelar Santos of Brazil's Federal University of Paraná (UFPR).
Santos recently made a disturbing discovery that is now international news: This remote island features "rocks identical to natural ones, but composed of plastic material originating from abandoned fishing nets or taken from the Brazilian coast by sea currents," according to the Brazilian government's Ministry of Education.
"This is new and terrifying at the same time, because pollution has reached geology," Santos told Reuters. As for how these rocks form:
Santos and her team ran chemical tests to find out what kind of plastics are in the rocks called "plastiglomerates" because they are made of a mixture of sedimentary granules and other debris held together by plastic.
"We identified [the pollution] mainly comes from fishing nets, which is very common debris on Trinidade Island's beaches. The [nets] are dragged by the marine currents and accumulate on the beach. When the temperature rises, this plastic melts and becomes embedded with the beach's natural material."
The full video from Reuters featuring Santos and her discovery is below:
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