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Tsunami Debris Survey Launched Northwest of Midway

The tsunami that followed on the heels of the March 11, 2011, earthquake in Japan produced as much as 25 million tons of debris. Much of this debris was swept into the ocean. What stayed afloat drifted apart under the influence of winds and currents, most of it eastward. Predicted to reach the West Coast of the United States and Hawaii within the coming years, the debris’ composition and how much is still floating on the surface are largely unknown. One thing is certain: the debris is hazardous to navigation, marine life, and when washed ashore, to coastlines.

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