Speed Reads

Whale of a problem

Potentially explosive whale carcass threatens Canada

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A 60-ton blue whale carcass that washed ashore on the coast of Newfoundland is slowly bloating with gas, prompting fears that it could turn into one giant blowhole. "The whale is blowing up," Emily Butler, the town clerk of unlucky Trout River, where the carcass sits, told the CBC. "It looks as if it's a big balloon, from a distance."

The whale washed ashore earlier this month and has sat decomposing ever since, giving off a powerful stench as its rotting body filled with trapped methane gas. Though the likelihood of the whale exploding like a bomb is very small, it is possible the built up pressure will cause it to rupture, with sickening results. It's happened before.

Perhaps worse though, as marine scientist Jack Lawson explained to the National Post, is the danger of people falling into the carcass while trying to hop around on it. Should that gross situation happen, he said, "Retrieving them would be very difficult."