What would happen to a body that would be left by itself near the Elephant’s Foot

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I just had a shower thought and started wondering if there was a dead body near the Elephant’s Foot in Chernobyl, what would happen to it? Would the radiation “deconstruct” the body so much it would become a puddle of mass or…?

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you leave a body in your back yard (Conceptually, don’t do this is real life of there will be a lot of problems) it will decompose. Not because of radiation, but the cells have to do work to keep it together and when they stop doing that work, the cells come apart and makes a mess. The bones are made of more durable materials, and don’t decompose as quickly. Many living organisms contribute to this process, from insects to bacteria.

No doubt high radiation levels will mess with all these processes, but some bacteria and insects are quite radiation hard, so something different but similar will happen.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It would have the opposite, bodies decompose due to bacteria and organisms eating the body. The radiation would kill lots of the bacteria so that process wouldn’t happen.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The Elephant’s foot is so radioactive because the elements in it have such a short half time. When it was first discovered in ’86 it was extremely radioactive, it is from this time most of the stories came from. At this time it would deliver a lethal dose in about 5 minutes. Since then the radioactivity have gone down quite a bit. By the mid ’90s people were actually safely going up to it for shorter amount of times and take samples from it. You could theoretically walk up to the Elephant’s foot today without any big concerns.

Adding to the complexity there are different types of nuclear radiation. In this case it is mostly alpha particles. It is the most damaging radiation but it does not penetrate much matter. It is therefore considered safe to be around as the radiation does not penetrate skin, but the dust of the radioactive material is highly dangerous because you can get it in your lungs and stomach where it is very dangerous. So a face mask would reduce the amount of radiation from visiting the Elephant’s foot by a huge amount.