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Look out! It might blow!
The small Canadian town of Trout River in Newfoundland, everyone is on edge these days — and it has to do with a beached whale carcass.
The decomposing Blue Whale, which showed up on the town's beach sometime in the past month, weighs over 60 tons, and many townsfolk are concerned about the flammable gases that are building up inside it! Many believe it may in fact explode, and possibly hurt a person or two.
Such a notion isn't entirely impossible either, as Paul Jepson, a biologist at the Institute of Zoology in London, pointed out:
“As the whale decomposes it releases gases such as methane and ammonia that build-up inside the body cavities. There’s a real risk of an explosion, partly as a result of the build-up of pressure and also because these gases are flammable. When we’ve dealt with the decomposing carcasses of large whales stranded in Britain we first try to decompress the animal by sliding a knife into it. It’s amazing the pressures that can build-up inside it and it’s a great relief once this stage is complete.”
The massive Blue Whale is believed to have been one of nine whales that died after they were caught in a pack of ice, and residents of Trout River have been complaining of the smells of rotting flesh it has produced along with the explosion possibility.
However, one research scientist with Canada's fisheries department, Jack Lawson, believes the chances of an explosion occurring are quite slim. He said:
"At some point, the skin of the animal will lose some of its integrity as all of the connective tissue starts to break down. Eventually, that gas will seep out… It will just deflate like an old balloon."
Despite the unlikelihood of an explosion happening, experts have warned the town's residents to stay away from the rotting whale carcass as it may be carrying dangerous viruses and/or bacteria.
It sucks that this majestic animal died, but at this point we just hope no humans are injured from the whale carcass.
[Image via NTV News.]