Seven Decades After D-Day

On June 6, 1944, World War II Allies stormed the northern coast of German-occupied France.  D-Day was the largest single-day amphibious invasion of all time.  More than 160,000 Allied troops attacked 50,000 entrenched German troops.  Support included 5,000 ships and 13,000 planes.  Seven million pounds of bombs were dropped.

To this day, the sands of Omaha Beach retain small and microscopic beads of shrapnel, iron and glass.  They were created by the heat from mortar explosions.

More recently, the Canadian Government studied the long-term impact of live fire training on soil, surface water and groundwater.  Six military ranges were examined for two types of energetic compounds: propellants and high explosives.  Metal traces found in firing ranges included lead, chromium, copper, antimony, arsenic, zinc and cadmium.  Metal traces found in tank target areas included selenium.

Instruments used to analyze soil extracts included an Agilent HPLC equipped with a degasser, a quaternary pump and a UV diode array detector.


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