Texas A&M oceanography professors William Bryant and Neil Slowey are concerned about what lies under the ocean.
"Worldwide, it's a tremendous problem," said Bryant.
The pair have been researching dumpsites in the Gulf of Mexico where the military dumped unused bombs and other weapons from 1946 to 1970. Out of the seven known sites in the gulf, they explored two of them and what they found has them concerned about the safety of folks involved in the oil and fishing industries.
"You want to pull up a 500 pound bomb? Or how about a big barrel of mustard gas? That would be fun," joked Bryant.
Bombs, leaking barrels of mustard gas, and containers without any markings are just a few of the things Bryant and Slowey found in dumpsites that are only in about 500 feet of water and close to the shore.
"They are 90 miles right off the Mississippi river and that's a major commerce avenue," said Bryant.
"It's all really uncertain. The actual amounts and even the very nature of what's at these places is not very well known," said Slowey.
"There are big containers down there that have no markings and we don't know what's in those containers," said Bryant.
With each dumpsite measuring out to 100 square miles, the professors just want to figure out what exactly is out there and how much.
"The most important first step is to just assess the situation. Because you don't know what you need to do or might not need to do or monitor for potential problems because we don't even know what's there," said Slowey.
It's the kind of sunken treasure that nobody wants to run into.
The two A&M professors hope to explore more of the dumpsites and get a better understanding of exactly what is on the ocean floor in the next few years.
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