Fukushima Debris To Keep Hitting The US Coast This Winter

Authorities expect more debris from the March 2011 Japanese Tsunami to wash up on the Pacific Coast this winter. Seasonal changes in ocean currents and North Pacific winds will push the 1.5 million tonnes of debris still out there towards US shores.

Just last week, authorities in Washington State were nervously tracking the massive dock in the image above. It had been spotted floating in the Pacific Ocean before authorities found itcrashed into the beach of Olympic National Park on December 18th. The confirmed tsunami wreckage spent nearly two years at sea.

The tsunami that devastated Japan has left its mark on North American soil in the form of tokens large and small washed ashore on its beaches: A soccer ball inscribed in Japanese characters, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and earlier this year, yet another massive dock. This one was 20 metres-long and landed in Oregon in June:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, estimates that five million tonnes of debris washed ashore as a result of the devastating tsunami, of which, about 3.5 million most likely sank shortly after the event. According to NOAA's models, a majority of the remaining debris is still scattered north and east of Hawaii. In other words, it's headed for the Pacific Coast. The expected range of landfall for this flotsam is from Southern California to Alaska.

Floating ocean debris can be monitored from NOAA's main marine debris information site, as well as from its Tsunami-related debris hub. According NOAA it has "received approximately 1,432 official debris reports, of which 17 have been confirmed as definite tsunami debris" as of December 13." Last month, the Japanese government donated $US5 million to the US to help with marine debris. In July, NOAA donated $US50,000 to each of Alaska, Washington, Oregon to support the effort. Any debris is mostly likely not radioactive but you should contact the proper authorities if you have information about any. [AP. NOAA ]

Images via Rick Bowmer/AP, Ecology WA

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    Never let the truth get in the way of a good headline!
    Suggesting the debris is from Fukushima it just meant to mislead people who may think that the debris is radioactive material from the damaged nuclear power plant. The reality couldn't be further from the truth with debris from a large area, which includes Fukushima Prefecture. It is highly unlikely that any visible material from the damaged power plant will make it to the coastline of the USA. It is even less likely that it would have anything more than a background radiation level.

      Very well said.
      I cringed when I saw this headline yet another Gizmodo article using ridiculous wording to cause a stir.
      It reminds me of an earlier article this year where the (obviously tactless) writer refers to all the debris as 'Crap'!
      Gizmodo, please just sit and think of what you just wrote before you hit the send button, do you guys have any kind of editorial department?

    I agree with you both.
    This is not a website on which to exercise sensationalism .
    Please Check your work before you press send

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now