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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/5/2013 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Check out these stunning images, interactive link.

An amalgamation of flotsam from the 2011 tsunami which swept Japan following one of the largest Earthquakes in recorded history, will soon strike the West Coast of the United States after more than two years of floating on the currents across the Pacific.

An eerie whirlpool was created of the Japanese coast by the 2011 tsunami.

An eerie whirlpool was created of the Japanese coast by the 2011 tsunami.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/5/2013 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Japan, debris, Texas, West Coast, debris field, tsunami, 2011, 2013, path, size, quantity, danger, flotsam


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Beachcombers have already found the first debris, ranging from boats to soccer balls, and even a motorcycle from Japan on West Coast beaches. However the debris thus far found, since April, 2013, will be little in comparison to the debris about to come ashore in the next several months.

Just northeast of Hawaii, and approaching  the U.S., is a debris field the size of the state of Texas, floating eastward at a pace that will bring it to western shores over the next year. Most of the debris is expected to turn south, then west, back towards Japan with the currents, but many artifacts will certainly wash ashore as the bulk of the flotsam passes south, off the coast.

The debris field is approximately the size of the state of Texas and has already passed northeast of

The debris field is approximately the size of the state of Texas and has already passed northeast of the Hawaiian islands.



An estimated five tons of debris is thought to remain afloat out at sea. At least one ton may come ashore, mostly in California.

This image shows the projected path of debris over time.

This image shows the projected path of debris over time.


The debris includes wrecked homes and structures, boats, and millions of other smaller items. Large storage drums, empty containers, and other, smaller items are expected. Plastic and wooden items will probably be the most common. Floating docks have already washed ashore in Washington and Oregon.

Flotsam from the field reveals entire houses and boats amid the debris.

Flotsam from the field reveals entire houses and boats amid the debris.


The debris should be more prevalent in California as currents turn the body of flotsam south, then back to the west.

Click here to watch an interactive graphic of the debris field.


Beachcombers are warned to avoid any debris that could contain hazardous materials or otherwise be dangerous. Despite leaks from the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, no danger from radiation is expected.

This can of bug spray could leak hazardous chemicals. People are warned to be careful if they see an

This can of bug spray could leak hazardous chemicals. People are warned to be careful if they see any debris on the beach and to watch children closely.


The likelihood of finding human remains is virtually zero. Still, beach-goers are advised to use caution when walking the strand and swimming and should avoid contact with any large debris. Instead, they should report the debris to local authorities for cleanup.

The documented range of debris is from Alaska in the north to the Philippines in the south.

Not all of the debris is dangerous. This soccer ball washed up earlier in the year. It bears the nam

Not all of the debris is dangerous. This soccer ball washed up earlier in the year. It bears the name of the child to whom it once belonged.



The debris field remains dense in parts. This Navy photo shows the debris field following the quake.

The debris field remains dense in parts. This Navy photo shows the debris field following the quake. Although much of the material has sank or dispersed, it remains a danger to swimmers and craft at sea. Large quantities of fishing tack are especially dangerous as they can entangle people and objects, not to mention marine life.



Japanese fishing buoys are already coming ashore regularly in the Pacific Northwest.

Japanese fishing buoys are already coming ashore regularly in the Pacific Northwest.



This motorcycle washed ashore earlier in the year, the unlucky owner possibly a victim of the tsunam

This motorcycle washed ashore earlier in the year, the unlucky owner possibly a victim of the tsunami, which makes the find particularly haunting.



This floating dock came ashore in Oregon after crossing the ocean from Japan. Although larger items

This floating dock came ashore in Oregon after crossing the ocean from Japan. Although larger items are uncommon, there are many such large artifacts in the debris field.



Boats of various sorts have already made their way across the Pacific, entirely dead. Most of these

Boats of various sorts have already made their way across the Pacific, entirely dead. Most of these ghostly ships, like this one, have finally sank.




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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



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