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Evaluation of a chemical munition dumpsite in the Baltic Sea based on geophysical and chemical investigations
Missiaen, T.; Söderström, M.; Popescu, I.; Vanninen, P. (2010). Evaluation of a chemical munition dumpsite in the Baltic Sea based on geophysical and chemical investigations. Sci. Total Environ. 408(17): 3536-3553. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.04.056
In: Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0048-9697, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 220415 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Arsenic; Chemical analysis; Chemical weapons; Dumping; Sediment pollution; Water analysis; ANE, Baltic, Bornholm Basin [Marine Regions]; Denmark, Bornholm [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Chemical munition dumpsite; Baltic Sea; Chemical analysis;Seismic-magnetic

Authors  Top 
  • Missiaen, T., more
  • Söderström, M.
  • Popescu, I., more
  • Vanninen, P.

Abstract
    This paper discusses the results of geophysical and chemical investigations carried out in a chemical munition dumpsite in the southern Baltic Sea, east of the island of Bornholm. After WW2 over 32,000 tons of chemical war material was dumped here including shells and bombs as well as small drums and containers. The geophysical investigations combined very-high-resolution seismics and gradiometric measurements. The results indicate the presence of a large number of objects buried just below the seafloor. The size of the objects and their distribution, with a marked increase in density towards the center of the dumpsite, suggests that we are dealing with dumped war material. Sediment and near-bottom water samples, taken within the dumpsite and in the surrounding area, were analysed for the presence of various chemical warfare agents (CWA) including Adamsite, Clark, sulphur mustard, tabun, chlorobenzene and arsine oil. The results indicate a widespread contamination that reaches far beyond the dumpsite boundary. CWA degradation products were found in most of the sediment samples. The contamination was mostly related to arsenic containing compounds; only one sample indicated the presence of sulfur mustard. Although the correlation between detected objects and CWA concentrations is not always straightforward, the overall results suggest that a lot of the dumped war material is leaking and that over the years the contamination has reached the seafloor sediments.

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