Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tsunami Debris Should reach West Coast of U.S.

Font Resize


Too early to tell if it will hit California
Herald Staff Writer
Updated:   02/29/2012 02:51:39 PM PST

Click photo to enlarge
Some of the 20 to 25 million tons of debris swept into the ocean last March by the tsunami that devastated Japan is expected to reach Hawaii in early 2013, and will continue to make its way to the West Coast of the United States before circling back to Hawaii.
Scientists tracking the debris estimate that 1 million to 2 million tons of it is still in the ocean, 1 to 5 percent of which is likely to wash up on coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.
Whether any will make its way to the beaches of Monterey Bay is still too difficult to predict, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
"It's very hard to be that specific," NOAA Public Affairs Officer Keeley Belva said Tuesday. "What we're seeing right now is that debris from the tsunami is likely to wash up on the northern part of the Hawaiian Islands, near Midway and Kure Atoll, make its way to the West Coast, then circle back around to Hawaii again."
The tsunami that slammed into Japan was the result of a magnitude-9 offshore earthquake on March 11, 2011, carrying away houses, fishing boats, lumber, refrigerators and bodies. Nearly 23,000 people were determined to be dead or missing.
"Many of those bodies and parts of bodies will likely begin washing up in about a year, some simply as feet in athletic shoes, similar to those found in Puget Sound over the last decade," Seattle oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer said.
Athletic shoes make perfect floats

to preserve parts of bodies, Ebbesmeyer said, and there are still thousands of people missing from tsunami-stricken areas of Japan. Much of the debris is still in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but some lighter, windblown flotsam travels faster, Ebbesmeyer said.
Some debris appears to have already arrived in the U.S., like a half-dozen large buoys suspected to be from Japanese oyster farms found in Alaska late last year.
The first suspected Japanese tsunami debris to reach the U.S. floated into Neah Bay, Wash., in early December.
Nicholas Mallos, conservation biologist and marine debris specialist for the Ocean Conservancy, said many of the objects are expected to be from Japan's fishing industry. Fishing gear could harm wildlife, such as endangered Hawaiian monk seals, if it washes up on coral reefs or beaches.
"The major question is how much of that material has sank since last year, and how much of that remains afloat or still in the water column," Mallos said.
"All debris should be treated with great reverence and respect," Ebbesmeyer said. "Families in Japan are waiting to hear of any items that may have been associated with their loved ones, and may travel to the U.S. to meet those who found these mementos."
The tsunami caused significant damage to a nuclear power plant in Japan, releasing radiation, but radiation contamination in any floating debris is considered a minor concern, Belva said.
"Radiation experts at the Environmental Protection Agency have told us that (radiation contamination) is so unlikely that the public shouldn't be worried about it," she said.
Anyone finding suspected debris on a beach or in the water is asked to report the find by emailing or by calling local emergency service agencies.

Dennis Taylor can be reached at 646-4344 or

end quote from

Note: I couldn't get in with the above address when I checked for some reason: Here is the Google Word button for the online paper:

Home - :

then since there are several articles on the subject I would simply type in: "Tsunami" to find those articles.

I wrote about a report of debris hitting Seattle and about people wondering whether this was the beginning of the  millions of tons of Japanese Tsunami debris coming on the current and wind across the ocean to North America. Though I suppose I might have been right about the lightest objects that might have blown in the wind faster like empty plastic bottles with lids and empty aluminum paint cans and things like this that might blow in the wind like little sails faster than the rest because they were neither heavy nor deep, the rest is in an ever expanding field of millions of tons of debris. So, I was right as you can see Float and buoys from fishing boats have already made it across to Seattle and Alaska in the above article. As you can see if you click on the debris maps above the heaviest objects aren't expected until 2.5 years after the Tsunami to reach likely Seattle and Canada and then might drift further south. Here is the other article I wrote about this before we all got more information in the above article: NBC News: Has the wreckage from Japan'a Tsunami Hi...

Also, when you click the debris photo above it will open in another window so you can see the progress and future progress of how these millions of tons of debris of smashed homes, fishing boats, cars, remains of human bodies in tennis shoes etc.  are moving and will move. The best way I can imagine all this would be if a tornado hit several towns in the U.S. and destroyed them and then somehow they got deposited in the Pacific Ocean along with any people that didn't survive. That would be the only I way can imagine the devastation that will eventually reach the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. And over the years it will likely move southward on the currents. If I'm correct anything that doesn't deposit itself From Canada on south on the coast will likely head southwards in the ocean following the currents as long as anything still floats before it starts heading back towards Hawaii in a big multi-year circle on the wind and currents. Also, since 23,000 or more died directly from this event it is difficult to say just how many remains of bodies are still traveling and floating along with these debris fields as they spread out more and more on the winds and currents.

Personally, if you care about your health you might want to bring a Geiger counter if you are going to visit any of the early or later debris. Also,  health problems might might result from anyone having contact with these debris fields  because of the carnage and unburied bodies associated with the debris so please be careful as you approach these large debris fields anywhere in the ocean.

I also think it is important to think about any remains that you find even in a tennis shoe or any personal artifacts you find that might be important to their loved ones to have to stay sane and alive and to redevelop hope to go on living without their loved ones. 23,000 is a whole lot of people to lose.    In 2010 there were  around 32,000 deaths by traffic accidents in the U.S. to give you a perspective on this number of fatalities right here where we live.

No comments: