Plasticrust: plastic encrusted in Madeira's near-shore rock formations | Photo: Gestoso

A group of marine scientists made a strange discovery on the island of Madeira, Portugal.

In 2016, Ignacio Gestoso, a marine ecologist at MARE, a multipolar marine and environment science center, noticed that unidentified blue crusts were plastered onto wave-licked rock formations.

Gestoso and his team collected a few samples and photographed the unusual occurrence.

However, one year later, the plasticrusts were still there, covering the rocks of a mid-upper intertidal shore.

Early this year, the Portuguese researchers returned to the spot and found that the uncommon substance had expanded and was now available in several colors.

The observation and the conclusions were published in a paper named "Plasticrusts: A new potential threat in the Anthropocene's rocky shores."

Plasticrust: scientists found several colored samples like these in Madeira | Photo: Gestoso

A New Type of Plastic

In the academic analysis, the MARE team states that plasticrust is a new type of plastic pollution.

"The potential impact of these new plasticrusts needs to be further explored. The potential ingestion by intertidal organisms could suppose a new pathway for the entrance of plastics into marine food webs," the study underlines.

Lab analysis revealed that the colored crusts were polyethylene, one of the most common types of plastic, often used in food and drink containers.

Ignacio Gestoso believes that plasticrust is the result of large pieces of plastic that crashed against the rocky shore and got stuck to it.

If the problem persists, this strange and upsetting new finding may very well replace biological crusts that were supposed to feed marine creatures like sea snails and barnacles.

Madeira is a volcanic Atlantic archipelago located 560 miles (900 kilometers) southwest of mainland Portugal.

Top Stories

Many will recognize him for his red beanie and his regular appearances on television during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Jacques Cousteau was the guardian of the ocean.

In the age of artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, it's hard to come up with a truly disruptive idea. Reflect Orbital is an exception.

Nature never seizes to surprise us. The Great Blue Hole in the Caribbean Sea is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for the human senses.

The records of global surface temperature started in 1850. Since then, Humanity has been able to register, analyze, and compare the evolution and shifts in warmth and coolness throughout the world.