'Island' of Earthquake Debris Headed for US

Tires, cars, and human remains to wash up in Hawaii, west coast
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2011 10:58 AM CDT
Updated Apr 10, 2011 6:09 AM CDT
A search helicopter from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force hovers over floating objects in waters off the devastated town of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan on Friday, April 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasufumi Nagao)
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(Newser) – If oceanographers are right, a veritable island of cars, houses, human remains, and other debris from Japan’s earthquake will soon wash ashore in Hawaii, and from there travel to the west coast of the US. Using computer models developed by tracking buoys across the ocean, researchers at the University of Hawaii in Manoa have predicted the path of the “plume” of debris, which will reach Hawaii by year’s end, CNN reports. It will hit the west coast in three years, according to papers spotted by NPR.

“I’m expecting parts of houses, whole boats, and feet in sneakers to wash up,” one oceanographer tells the Daily Mail. “I'm expecting the unexpected.” The US Navy has spotted the floating junk, and says there’s so much of it that it poses a danger to shipping traffic. “Getting through some of these obstacles doesn't make much sense if you are going to actually cause more debris by having your own vessel become stuck in one of these waterways,” one ensign said.

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