Scientists: Japan Tsunami Debris to Hit Area

Some debris from the March tsunami in Japan could possibly reach California next year, according to oceanographers.

Debris from a in Japan, which followed a magnitude-8.9 earthquake, continues to travel across the Pacific Ocean, and could hit California in about a year, according to some scientists.

Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham gave a presentation at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, WA on Tuesday night, exploring the travel of marine debris from the tsunami.

The men discussed what kind of debris could arrive along the West Coast shoreline and its travel speed, according to the Associated Press, which also reported some floating items (thought to be from the tsunami) have been found on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Rubble from the tsunami could include large wreckage, such as portions of houses or vehicles, or other items such as tennis shoes or "just about anything else that floats," according to the Associated Press. Marine debris reportedly travels an average of about 7 mph—it could reach 20 in heavy wind.

The floating tsunami debris even has become part of an exhibition package for "scientists, educators and eco-adventurers," organized by the 5 Gyres Institute and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in collaboration with Pangaea Exploration.

The trip’s second leg will cross the "Japan tsunami debris field," according to the research foundation.

"Our vision is a global environment that is healthy, sustainable, and productive for all living creatures, free from plastic pollution… Understanding the impact of the Japan tsunami resultant debris will provide once-in-a-lifetime information to help us move closer to that vision," said Marieta Francis, Algalita executive director, in a statement following announcement of the exhibition in October.

Japan continues to recover from the monster earthquake that hit in March and triggered a ferocious tsunami along the country's eastern shore. as a result of the disaster.


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