American and German researchers have registered record levels of ultraviolet radiation in the region of the Andes around Bolivia. The ultraviolet rays were so strong that they were capable of destroying human DNA.
The registered UV rays above the Andes were 4 times more powerful than what the human body can withstand. As a result of these data, experts have advised for people in the region not to expose themselves to the Sun for more than 10 minutes, since the 11th minute might be fatal.
The dangerous UV rays can destroy human DNA, disrupt the process of photosynthesis and reduce the viability of eggs and larvae.
Even the scientific teams from NASA and SETI were left stunned by the area above which the deadly UV rays were registered, since the large gap in the ozone, which would be capable of causing them, is above Antarctica.
"The record indicators were not registered in deserted Antarctica, above which there has been an ozone hole for a long time, but in the tropics - near villages and small towns, " explained Nathalie Cabrol from NASA to Frontiers in Environmental Science journal.
The SETI Institute has conducted its own investigation and has discovered that there are dangerous UV rays above a high altitude mountain lake in the Andes.
The measurements were taken for the project Mars Landscape on Earth.
Besides around the lake Laguna Blanca, dosimeters were also mounted around the Licancabur volcano, located on the border between Chile and Bolivia at 19410 ft (5917 m) above sea level.
The experts agree that the thin ozone layer is the reason for the high intensity of ultraviolet radiation.
At the moment, the ultraviolet index above the Andes is 26, bearing in mind that doctors consider every index above 8 to be dangerous.
At the end of December 2003, the intensity of the ultraviolet rays in the same region was measured to have a value of 43.
Because of the fact that the radiation was registered above a populated area, representatives from NASA and SETI announced that they would keep a constant watch on the ozone layer above Earth.