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How Debris from the Earthquake and Tsunami Will Spread Across the Ocean

The massive 9.0 earthquake created a bunch of debris and the ensuing wave washed a lot of it out to sea. Here's how it is expected to travel.

The earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear power crisis in Japan have been devastating. But there is, unfortunately, yet another dimension to this multi-faceted disaster: The massive 9.0 earthquake created a bunch of debris and the ensuing wave washed a lot of it out to sea. Those bits of buildings, household things, trees, tires, and other fragments of civilization are heading out across the Pacific and will eventually hit Hawaii and the west coast.

The International Pacific Research Center has created a model of how the debris is expected to travel, to aid in tracking it and cleaning it up. The first wave of debris is predicted to hit Hawaii within a year. Then it will hit Vancouver and the rest of the west coast of North America, before heading back to Hawaii.


You can see an animation of the predicted path of the debris at the International Pacific Research Center site.

Sigh. The good people at the 5 Gyres project have their work cut out for them.