Our modern civilization's impact on the planet goes beyond the air and water... to the land itself, with the appearance of ‘Frankenstein rocks,’ stones with embedded pieces of man-made plastic.
Geophysicists discovered the new type of rock as they were exploring a beach on Hawaii’s Big Island. They say the material they are calling ‘plastiglomerate’ was probably formed when campers or fishermen lit campfires, melting plastic trash which then mixed with natural beach material, such as volcanic rock, sand and seashells.
When ocean waves pull these plastiglomerate rocks into the water, they sink and become part of the planet’s geology.
Scientists say similar rocks form if plastic trash is present during forest fires and volcanic eruptions.
It is estimated that since 1950, close to six billion tons of plastic has been produced, but scientists disagree on whether it will stay in that form or eventually turn back to oil, from which it was made.