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Posted on 1 Feb 2010 1:36 am
According to local sources on sheppy the fires are probably from wooden crates that held White phosphorus bombs and sheets disintegrating. The pieces of phosphorus which is water insoluble, float to the surface and are washed onto the superstructure of the wreck whereupon they dry out, come in contact with the air and burst into flame, spontaneously.These flares of light are very short lived so no traces remain after residue being washed by the sea.There is no danger of explosion (if indeed this is the cause yet unproven but lightly )but if phosphorus is escaping what else? The very real danger is pieces of it being washed up on the shore and being picked up while wet.If in contact with the skin when dried out would burn down to the bone. If left in contact with other materials start a fire without warning. see:
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