March 11, 2011: A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Japan, triggering a massive tsunami. The Government of Japan estimated in March 2012 that the tsunami swept about 5 million tons of debris into the ocean and that about 70% sank quickly. The remaining debris was dispersed far across the North Pacific, an area of ocean roughly three times the size of the lower 48 states. Some debris have already reached US and Canadian shores, and is expected to continue over the next several years. At this time, there is no way to accurately estimate how much debris is still floating - some likely sank or deteriorated.
This animation was created by ISLANDS4KIDS (www.islands4kids.org) to keep track of projected tsunami related debris drifting for the past four and half years.
There are four different courses. Three beginning at major prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima) and one from the Fukushima nuclear power plant hit by the tsunami.
This map and animation gives rough calculations based on the actual tidal current movement to know the whereabouts of dense areas of Japan Tsunami related marine debris. The size and area of diffusion (yellow glow) may differ from actual diffusion due to the impact of other meteorological conditions.
To identify ocean currents were referred to NOAA’s OSCURS database.