Industrial Revolution Contaminated Himalayas Years Before A Person Ever Set Foot

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Industrial Revolution polluted the glaciers with toxic byproducts of burning coal in Europe years before humans arrived at the Himalaya hiking the summits.

Written By Zaini Majeed | Mumbai | Updated On:
Industrial Revolution

A scientific study reportedly claims that the Central Himalayas glaciers have been contaminated by the humans during the late 18th century at the beginning of the industrial revolution. The research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that Dasuopu glacier was polluted with the toxic byproducts from burning coal in Europe hundreds of years ago.

Paolo Gabrielli, lead author of the study and a principal investigator and research scientist at The Ohio State University Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and the School of Earth Sciences, revealed in his research on publications site that the Industrial Revolution was a revolution in the use of energy and so the use of coal combustion also started to cause emissions that were transported by winds up to the Himalayas.

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Several toxic metals in ice

He stated that the research team that published this study was part of a larger international team that traveled to Dasuopu in 1997 to drill ice cores from the glacier. The cores provide a record of snowfall, atmospheric circulation and other environmental changes over time and the Byrd Center had one of the largest collections of ice cores in the world.

He said in his research that the scientists discovered higher-than-natural levels of several toxic metals, including cadmium, chromium, nickel, and zinc, in the ice starting at around 1780, the very start of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. Those metals were all byproducts of burning coal, a key part of the industry at the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, he added.

According to the reports, Dasuopu, located on Shishapangma at 23,600 feet above sea level is the highest-altitude site in the world where scientists have obtained a climate record from an ice core. It is one of the world's 14 tallest mountains, which are all located in the Himalayas and the analysis serves as the most intense ice core contamination records.

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