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A whale of a problem

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NPR -
People of the small Canadian town of Trout River, Newfoundland, have a big problem that just might blow up in their faces: what to do with a giant blue whale carcass that's washed up on the beach and some say threatens to spontaneously combust.

The 80-foot-long whale appeared on the beach in the town of about 600 people a week ago. Since then, the mass of rotting blubber has become bloated with combustible methane gas and is "emitting a powerful stench."

"If that whale does explode, we don't know what danger that would be to our infrastructure ...or to people," said Trout River's town clerk, Emily Butler.

However, Jack Lawson, a research scientist with Canada's fisheries department, says the chances of a whale-size explosion are "very small."

"Eventually, that gas will seep out. It will just deflate like an old balloon. The risk will come from somebody with a sharp blade who decides they want to cut a hole in the side to see what happens, or if someone is foolish enough to walk on it," Lawson says.
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