• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Emerging Science Note/WTC Fallout

Air Date: Week of February 7, 2003

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Living on Earth’s Jessica Penney reports on how scientists are using the World Trade Center tragedy to study geology in the New York Harbor.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Just ahead, a look at the car the President says a child born today will someday drive. First, this Note on Emerging Science from Jessica Penney.

[MUSIC]

PENNEY: When the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, it covered lower Manhattan in ash and left a layer of sediment at the bottom of the Hudson River. Scientists now hope that this ash layer may help them learn more about the geology of the New York Harbor.

A team of researchers from University of Massachusetts in Boston took river-bottom sediment samples at two unused piers on the lower west side of Manhattan one month after the disaster. They found unusual concentrations of calcium, strontium and sulfur. These are all elements found in gypsum drywall and in ash from the Twin Towers.

They are still trying to determine how much of the ash fell from the sky onto the river, and how much washed into the water after rainstorms later in September. This distinct layer of chemicals could wash out to sea. But the researchers say it may remain on the bottom of the river and become a permanent geological marker of the tragedy.

Having a clear and distinct sediment layer from a specific event will allow the researchers to learn more about the movement of particles in the harbor. The researchers went back to the Hudson last July and took more samples from different locations. They are analyzing the data and what they say will become an ongoing effort to monitor the fate of the World Trade Center ash. That's this week's Note on Emerging Science. I'm Jessica Penney.

[MUSIC]

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: Antonio Pinto/Ed Cortes “A Transa” City of God Milan Records (2002)]

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.