Millions of pounds of unexploded bombs lurk in the Gulf of Mexico and around the US coastline new research suggests.
Oceanographers at Texas A&M University looked at two weapons dumpsites in the Gulf of Mexico and found millions of pounds of unexploded ordinances or UXO.
“The amount that has been dumped was unbelievable,” said study author William Bryant, according to Fox News.
“No one seems to have reported seeing explosives in the Gulf. We felt it was our responsibility to report it.”
The researchers estimate that at least 31 million pounds of explosives and other weapons are likely scattered around the US coastline.
Another estimate puts the weight of unexploded weapons under the world's oceans and waterways at around 200 million pounds, said Fox News.
The study said that it was no surprise that the weapons ended up in the oceans.
Until the early 1970s, when international treaties were signed, many countries regularly dumped munitions and chemical weapons into the water.
This included chemical weapons, missiles, bombs and guns.
Reuters reported that after the Second World War, the US created a number of disposal areas along the coast.
However, it remains unclear how many weapons in the US were given a water burial and whether they pose a danger to the environment.
"These bombs are a threat today and no one knows how to deal with the situation," said Bryant, according to Reuters.
"If chemical agents are leaking from some of them, that's a real problem. If many of them are still capable of exploding, that's another big problem."
Oil companies drilling off the US coast have long been aware of the presence of unexploded bombs and other weapons of war, which could be accidentally set off by underwater drilling.
In 2011, BP and Shell found the remains of a German U-boat near the mouth of the Mississippi River, said the New York Times.