Scientists in the Field
Spiral Notebook
Messages in Bottles
by Loree Burns
September 10, 2012
 
Messages in Bottles
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You can’t write about flotsam and jetsam without coming across a message in a bottle or two. When I was researching Tracking Trash, I came across quite a few, including the one pictured here. It was collected by beachcomber John Anderson near his Forks, Washington home and like all bottle messages, it has stories to tell. There are the personal stories, of course: who launched the bottle and why? who found the bottle and how? And then there are the stories of its oceanic movement: how far did the bottle drift between its launch and its discovery?

The possibilities in these stories thrill me.

Which is why I was so intrigued by news of a new ‘oldest message in a bottle’, as verified by the Guinness Book of World Records. There are ninety-eight years of stories in that bottle, launched in the North Sea on June 10, 1914 and found by a skipper in Scotland earlier this year. Here’s a bit of  its personal story, and here’s a look at some of the science.

Cool stuff, no?

Photo © Betty Jenewin
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About Loree Burns

Loree Griffin Burns, Ph.D. lives, writes, and watches bees in central Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and three children. You can visit her at www.loreeburns.com. She is the author of the award-winning Scientists in the Field titles Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion and The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe.  Her next Scientists in the Field book is about beetles and trees.

 

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