Unconventional sedimentary rocks observed on five continents

A strange type of sedimentary rock has been found in 11 countries and five different continents around the world both inland and on the coast.

Recently, scientists studying sedimentary geology, with particular focus on the composition and properties of these sedimentary rocks, have discovered that these rocks are composed of clastic and clastic rocks broken from pre-existing rocks.

Scientists call these new sedimentary rocks “Plastistones” and they have been discovered all over the world.

“Plaststones have been found on a global scale, both in coastal and inland areas,” the researchers noted.

The process of plastogen formation involves the lithification (the process of turning into rock) of plastics such as polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP) and other plastic polymers, along with natural or rock fragments.

Human-caused waste has given rise to such sedimentary rocks, which form when these plastic materials, often derived from human-generated waste such as packaging, containers or maritime activities, are subjected to combustion, wave action, evaporation or chemical bonding.

Through these processes, plastic materials combine with existing rock fragments, sediments or minerals and become incorporated into the sedimentary mix.

The fusion occurs in different ways and creates a composite rock structure where plastics and natural materials are combined.

The study explained: “Plastic rocks can form in a variety of ways, including campfires, burning of plastic waste, wave action, evaporation or chemical bonding. Plastistons have been shown to alter microbial communities in the surrounding environment and can generate large amounts of microplastics and nanoplastics.

The researchers added: “This new type of sedimentary rock provides compelling evidence of how human activities can act as a powerful external geological process reshaping our planet's geological record.”

The study was published Nov. 6 in the journal Science Direct.

Rare “rainbow clouds” decorate the Arctic sky for 3 days in a row

The sky over and around the North Pole has been sparkling with “amazing” rainbow clouds for more than three days thanks to an unusually cold upper atmosphere.

Experts say more of these colors could appear in the next few months.

The colorful clouds, known as polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs), were seen floating high in the sky over parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska and to the south over Scotland.

It began to appear on December 18 and remained visible until December 20, according to Spaceweather.com. Some smaller, less visible clouds were also observed on December 21, but generally appear to be disappearing.

Photographer Ramone Chapailaiti captured stunning images of a rare phenomenon over a town in southern Norway, also known as “shell clouds” due to their similarity in color and luster to seashells.

“The colors are amazing. There were clouds in the sky all day, but the colors really exploded just before sunset,” Chapailaiti told Spaceweather.com.

These patterns were caused by a long period of unusually cold temperatures in the sky, according to Spaceweather.com.

Polar stratospheric clouds are formed from small ice crystals that refract or scatter sunlight. This splits the light into individual wavelengths, or colors, creating an effect similar to the rainbow we see from Earth.

There are two types of multi-colored stem cells: the first, made from a mixture of ice crystals and nitric acid, which produces less vibrant colors and is linked to ozone hole formation, and the second, which is made from pure ice crystals and produces more vivid colors. The clouds that had recently formed over the North Pole were of the second type.

Sparkling structures form only in the lower stratosphere, 15 to 25 km (9.3 to 15.5 mi) above the Earth's surface.

Usually, clouds do not form at this height in the atmosphere because it is very dry. But at very low temperatures, below minus 85 degrees Celsius (minus 121 degrees Fahrenheit), the widely separated water molecules begin to coalesce into tiny ice crystals that clump together more tightly in clouds.

Stratospheric temperatures in the Arctic rarely fall below the threshold necessary for these cells to form, so they are typically observed only a few times a year during the winter months. The extreme cold that led to the recent appearance of polar stratospheric clouds may have been partly caused by the current El Nino phenomenon, which can affect temperatures around the poles. However, man-made climate change may also be to blame, and experts say there's a good chance we'll see more of this phenomenon in the Arctic over the coming months, according to Spaceweather.com.

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