Japan’s Tsunami Debris Heads for the West Coast

by Matt Ball on April 9, 2011

More than 200,000 buildings and countless other debris were washed out into the Pacific as a result of the recent tsunami. That wreckage is now being pushed across the ocean by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre with the debris headed toward Washington, Oregon and California, before circulating back toward Hawaii.

The average drift rate is five to ten miles per day, so it will take at least a year before the first debris makes landfall. These same currents have brought us the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is now set to get much bigger.

Click here for an animation of the debris spread that was created by the International Pacific Research Center using past trajectories of drifting buoys.

Learn more about this pending environmental threat in this feature from the Daily Mail.

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