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Texas-Sized Island Of Japanese Debris To Hit The West Coast Of North America

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Debris fields like this one could be seen in the days after the disaster but are no longer visible. Image credit: U.S. Navy

Discovermagazine

The devastating tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 caused a huge amount of local destruction, including damaged homes and radioactive water leaks, which has persisted to this day. But it also has affected areas far from that initial site—most prominently, by creating over a million tons of debris that are still floating across the Pacific Ocean toward North America.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been modeling the slow creep of this stuff across the ocean since 2011. Their initial computer model relied mainly on data about oceanic currents, but the latest iteration also takes into account wind speed and how wind interacts with materials differently, depending on how they float on the water.

An updated NOAA report released last week shows a floating debris island field* the size of Texas that’s headed toward the U.S., along with other debris dispersed throughout the ocean.

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    • TombRaider

      I thought it was the size of Great Britain?

      Great Britain – 85,000 sq miles

      Texas – 275,000 sq miles

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