What do you know about arsenic? The first time I ever heard of it was in a story about Napoleon. It was thought that he had been poisoned with arsenic.
Most recently, I had been learning about arsenic because we were living in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Canada. There are two retired gold mines in the area, with the mining tunnels running under the city. In these tunnels, there is enough arsenic dust to kill everyone on earth. Apparently, the arsenic has been frozen underground and thus not escaping into the air, soil or water but with temperatures on the rise, the tunnels are thawing.
Tonight, I caught a program on the radio called Distant Future Warnings: The challenges of communicating with eternity. The introduction says, “Radioactive waste and toxic mining byproducts will remain deadly for thousands of years – maybe forever. Generations in the distant future will need to know about about the places this stuff is buried, and to stay away. Deep in the arsenic-contaminated underground at Giant Mine near Yellowknife, contributor Garth Mullins wonders how we can warn the distant future. Is it even possible to send messages that can outlast governments, languages, cultures, nations – maybe even humans?”
Give it a listen. Hopefully it works outside of Canada. Please let me know if it doesn’t and I’ll try to figure out an alternative.