Discovery of tsunami debris matches model

Oct. 14, 2011 at 5:46 PM
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HONOLULU, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Debris from the March 11 tsunami in Japan has been found floating in the Pacific Ocean just where computer models suggested it would end up, researchers say.

Scientists with the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa say the discovery of the debris by a Russian ship homeward bound from Honolulu to Vladivostok confirms the ocean track of the debris that could threaten small ships and coastlines, a university release said Friday.

Armed with maps created by the computer models, the Russian ship Pallada found a large amount of floating debris soon after passing Midway Island, including a 20-foot long Japanese fishing boat that was hoisted aboard the Russian ship.

Markings on the boat showed its home port to be in the Fukushima prefecture, the area hardest hit by the tsunami.

With the exact location of some of the widely scattered debris confirmed, scientists say they can make more accurate projections about the tracks the floating material will take.

The first landfall on Midway Island is expected this winter, then what misses Midway will continue toward the main Hawaiian Islands and the North American West Coast, the researchers said.

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