Alaska Science Forum

August 23, 2011

The experiment that never ends

Article #2078

A plastic disc from an experiment 30 years ago, found by Paul Boots on Alaska’s North Slope in late July 2011.

Photo by Paul Boots.

Some experiments never end. Especially ones involving plastic objects released in the far north.

In late July 2011, Paul Boots, a supervisor at an
oilfield on Alaska’s North Slope, found a small, yellow plastic disc on a
creekbed. Scientists 30 years ago tossed the disc into the sea as part
of a study on arctic oil spills.

Boots, who works at the large gravel pad that host