Saturday, June 09, 2012
Forecasts of tsunami debris path across the Pacific Ocean
by Larry Geller
Here’s a projection of the path of debris from the Japanese tsunami from NOAA (click the thingy in the lower right for full screen):
This is another simulation, from the University of Hawaii:
One concern that frequently arises in articles describing the debris is whether or not it will be radioactive. The typical responses are that (1) any radioactivity will be diluted by the ocean water, and (2) the debris was caused by the tsunami, and so is not radioactive. Of course, if there should be any radioactive parts shed by the Fukushima reactors or made radioactive by contact with or absorption of radioactive seawater, we won’t know that until it arrives on our shores.
Fortunately for Hawaii, a good deal of the debris will be picked over as it arrives on the West Coast before turning back in this direction, so we’ll likely learn more from those who collect it at that time.
We began collecting what looks like tsunami debris this past weekend in Kahuku. We scanned it with our Geiger and found no abnormal levels of radiation. The most likely item we found was a refrigerator with Japanese writing in it and little decay. It scanned normal.