Island of debris the size of TEXAS from 2011 Japanese tsunami is headed straight for the U.S.
- Part of the over one million tons of debris dispersed in the Pacific, the trash island is located northeast of the Hawaiian Islands
- The first documented tsunami debris to reach California arrived in April 2013
- Boats, a dock, a soccer ball, and motorcycle have all been identified on the West Coast as confirmed tsunami debris
PUBLISHED: 22:41 EST, 4 November 2013 | UPDATED: 05:32 EST, 5 November 2013
A floating island of debris the size of Texas has been crossing the vast Pacific Ocean to the western shores of the Americas since a devastating tsunami inundated Japan in 2011, says a new study.
Five million tons of wreckage – the remains of homes, boats, and other remnants of shattered lives in eastern Japan – were swallowed by the ocean that day in March, and more than one million tons of flotsam continues to head towards the west coast of the US.
While the first documented debris from the tragedy has already been found in California, scientists fear these new findings mean there could be a lot more to come and it might arrive all at once.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) released its updated findings last week, which show the huge island floating northeast of the Hawaiian Islands.
NOAA scientists add that a larger and less-concentrated debris field stretches from Alaska to the Philippines.
JAPANESE TSUNAMI DEBRIS ISLAND STEADILY FLOATS TO U.S.
An estimated 5 million tons of debris washed into the ocean in March of 2011 during the tsunami.
Around 70 percent of it is believed to have immediately sunk near the Japanese coast.
Some more mobile items may have reached the Pacific Northwest before 2011 even came to a close.
The first documented piece of debris to arrive in California, a barnacle covered fishing boat, came ashore in April 2013.
The particles are dispersed sparsely from Alaska to the Philippines.
The Texas-sized trash island is located northeast of the Hawaiian Islands.
Some of the more mobile items have been documented as washing up on the coast of California as early as 2011.
In April, a 20ft boat ran aground at Crescent City, California. It was formally identified as a boat that belonged to the marine sciences program at Takata High School in the city of Rikuzentakata.
In all, 27 items from among more than 1,600 reports of debris have been firmly traced back to the tsunami, NOAA spokeswoman Keeley Belva said.
The confirmed items include a small boat found in Hawaii waters, large docks that have washed ashore in Washington state and Oregon, and a motorcycle that washed ashore off the coast of British Columbia.
A soccer ball found on an Alaska island with a student’s name on it was also traced to the city of Rikuzentakata.
But distinguishing everyday trash from tsunami debris has proven difficult in most other cases.
Items that are confirmed as having come from the tsunami, like the soccer ball and boat, tend to have unique markings. It’s far more difficult to distinguish between domestic and Japanese everyday wooden debris, for instance.
Geiger counters, which detect radiation, are no help in identifying debris. It was initially thought that the instruments might be able to pick up traces of radiation from the still-leaking nuclear reactor at Fukushima, but none of the floating debris has any detectable radioactivity.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2487555/Island-debris-size-TEXAS-2011-Japanese-tsunami-headed-straight-U-S.html#ixzz2jn0aeujD
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