NOAA Douses Fears of Fukushima Tsunami Debris Heading to the United States
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 7, 2013 3:11 PM EST
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has clarified that no island composed of debris from the Fukushima tsunami is heading towards the U.S. coast of California.
"There is no solid mass of debris from Japan heading to the United States."
"At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out. It is spread out so much that you could fly a plane over the Pacific Ocean and not see any debris since it is spread over a huge area, and most of the debris is small, hard-to-see objects," NOAA wrote on its Marine Debris blog.
The agency was forced to issue the clarification after it released a map that showed a solid mass material floating in the world's open oceans. Its trajectory was supposedly headed for the U.S., between California and Hawaii.
But while the tsunami that crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 gave off 5 million tonnes of floating debris, 70 per cent of these have sunk off somewhere out there in the wide open seas.
"While there likely is some debris still floating at sea, the North Pacific is an enormous area, and it's hard to tell exactly where the debris is or how much is left. A significant amount of debris has already arrived on the U.S. and Canadian shores, and it will likely to continue arriving in the same scattered way over the next several years," the agency said.
"As we get further into the fall and winter storm season, NOAA and partners are expecting to see more debris coming ashore in North America, including tsunami debris mixed in with the 'normal' marine debris that we see every year."
However, with its presence confirmed, concern is growing the debris contains unwanted or undesired organisms.
"We're finding that all kinds of Japanese organisms are growing on the debris," John Chapman, a scientist at Oregon State University' Marine Science Center, told Fox News. "We've found over 165 non-native species so far.... we'd never seen [some of these species] here, and we don't particularly want [them] here."
"We have been seeing more and more," Glen Spain, Northwest regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, said.
"The major hazards of this stuff is that it can carry invasive species, like the pier that washed up. And the bigger stuff can be a navigational hazard."
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Derek Jeter With The New York Yankees Through The Years [IN PICTURES]
- George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin's Wedding In Venice: Photos Of Groom And His Family, Friends [Slideshow]
- NFL Recap - Week 4: Green Bay Packers 38, Chicago Bears 17 [PHOTOS]
- Melanoma Could Be Caused By Ageing Genes; Best Diet For Anti-Ageing; Celebrities Who Have Aged Gracefully
Join the Conversation
- Complex Alien Molecule May Offer Hints At Origin Of Life
- Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak: New York Scientists Unveil A Cloaking Device [Watch Video]
- Boy Bitten By A Snake During A Visit To The Botanical Garden In Melbourne
- Eerie Reddish Glow Of October 8 Total Lunar Eclipse – Astronomer Reminds Aussies To Enjoy Photo Opp
- Australia's Rising Temperatures Have 'Definite' Links To Global Warming
- Forget Nexus 6 Release Date, Android Phones Will Soon Showcase Pure Google Apps & Features
- Galaxy Note 4 Pre Order Starts in the US, Get Samsung Note Ahead of October 14 Release
- $249.99 Motorola Moto 360 Smartwatch's First Promo Out; 'Stone Leather' Replaces 'Gray Leather' - Available In BestBuy [Watch Video]
- BlackBerry Passport Sold Out As Preorders Reached 200,000
- iPhone 6 vs Moto G 2014: Motorola’s Budget Smartphone Takes On Apple’s Premium Smartphone
- iOS 8 And iOS 8.0.2 Security Flaw Revealed, Anyone Can Easily Bypass Touch ID And Passcode Security Features
- Australia Cracks Down On International Money Laundering Syndicate