This Project Seemed Like A Good Idea, But Now, Climate Change Might Spell Trouble

The U.S. government hasn’t always been known for its sound judgement, especially during the Cold War. During this period in U.S. history, the government engaged in a variety of strange projects that were all designed to crush the Soviet Union if war erupted. However, the aftermath of one of these bizarre endeavors is now threatening massive environmental disaster in Greenland.

In 1959, the Army Corps of Engineers built a top-secret science station known as Camp Century deep under the arctic ice of northern Greenland. The existence of the base was only known to top military officials and the soldiers who built it.

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However, the purpose of the station was far from scientific. The base was actually a cover for a secret U.S. military experiment known as “Project Iceworm.”

The purpose of Project Iceworm was to construct underground missile launch tunnels. Greenland is significantly closer to Russia than the continental United States. Any missiles launched from Greenland would reach their Soviet targets in a much shorter time, essentially ensuring an American victory…or so they thought.

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Luckily, it never came to nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. As tensions between the two superpowers thawed, glacial shifts in the Greenland ice sheet caused extensive damage to Camp Century. It was later abandoned.

Over the years, officials allowed for the surrounding ice to entomb the nuclear missiles and waste products housed at the camp. And that was pretty much the end of it, until a pesky thing called climate change came knocking.

According to a recent report, the ice surrounding the remnants of Camp Century is slowly melting away thanks to rising temperatures caused by climate change. If the ice melts fully, there’s a risk that hundreds of gallons of nuclear waste could contaminate Greenland and its surrounding oceans.

(via Mysterious Universe)

Making matters even more complicated is the legal ownership of Camp Century. Technically, the camp was a joint venture between the U.S. and Denmark. However, since it was abandoned, the site has become a gray area with both sides feeling less than eager to foot the bill for a proper cleanup.

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