Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A debris field the size of California from the Japan 'quake is heading toward Washington State (and may already be here)

By Jack Brummet, West Coast Editor

A debris field "the size of California" is headed for West Coast--specifically, Washington, Canada, and Alaska.  The debris was swept out to sea after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March. 

A Seattle oceanographer and author, Curt Ebbesmeyer, says that while the bulk of the debris will take several years to arrive, items that float could hit the Washington shore any day now.  Check out Ebbesmeyer's website, Beachcombers Alert for more information.  He also runs the Flotsametrics website, where he is collecting data on the debris field as it nears Washington State. 

"My message is the debris--big objects--could be here now," said the oceanographic detective. "Aircraft wings, boats, big buoys -- big objects that catch the wind that can be here now."

Ebbesmeyer agrees with the government figures that around 100,000 tons of debris, most of it moving underwater, will hit the U.S. coast in 2013.  He believes, however, that the floating debris (as opposed to the debris being carried underwater by the current) is moving three times faster.

The oceanographer is asking the public to report any found debris on his website, flotsmetrics.com.

More than 200,000 buildings were washed out by the waves that followed the 9.0 quake. There are reports of cars, tractor-trailers, capsized ships and even whole houses bobbing around in the open water. There will also be human feet, still in their shoes, washing up.  Feet tend to be the part of humans that survive the seas because they come off bodies at the joints, and are encased in shoes that keep them floating on the surface.  Several thousand bodies were washed out to sea following and while most of the limbs will come apart and break down in the water, feet encased in shoes will float, Mr. Ebbesmeyer said.

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