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Bikini corals recover from atomic blast

April 21, 2008 at 1:06 PM   |   Comments

TOWNSVILLE, Australia, April 21 (UPI) -- A team of international scientists says the Pacific Ocean atoll of Bikini, the site of the most powerful U.S. nuclear bomb explosion, is recovering.

The team of Australian, German, Italian, U.S. and Marshall Island scientists said a large amount of corals are again flourishing at the atoll and particularly in the crater left by the 1954 atomic blast that vaporized three islands, raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees, shook islands 125 miles away and left a crater more than 1 mile wide and 240 feet deep.

"The healthy condition of the coral at Bikini atoll today is proof of their resilience and ability to bounce back from massive disturbances, that is if the reef is left undisturbed and there are healthy nearby reefs to source the recovery," said Zoe Richards of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.

However researchers also determined 42 species formerly seen there are missing. At least 28 of those losses appear to be due to the 23 bombs exploded at the atoll from 1946 to 1958, or the resulting radioactivity, increased nutrient levels and smothering from fine sediments.

The team's research appears in Elsevier's Marine Pollution Bulletin, published in March.

Topics: James Cook
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