Tsunami debri headed for US west coast

September 23, 2011 3:47 pm News

According to marine experts, most of the debris that was washed into the Pacific Ocean following the March tsunami and earthquake in Japan won’t make it to the West Coast of the United States.  But, for what does make it to Oregon Beaches it will likely be a slow process says Jack Barth, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University.

The detritus will drift across the Pacific on the Kuroshiro Current until it collides with the North Pacific Current.  From there, it will split in two, some going north to Alaska, the rest catching a southbound ride on the California Current that flows along the Pacific Northwest.

Even much of that won’t make it to the beaches… Barth says some of it will end up in what is called the “garbage patch” an accumulation of marine litter trapped in a circular flow in the north central pacific.  While some debris may show up as early as next spring… Oregonians shouldn’t expect to see the bulk of Japanese debris until March 2013.

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