JESSE ALLEN / JAN HAFNER, INTERNATIONAL PACIFIC RESEARCH CENTER / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JESSE ALLEN / JAN HAFNER, INTERNATIONAL PACIFIC RESEARCH CENTER / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tsunami debris dispersal. Oceanographic animated model of the Western Pacific, showing the dispersal of debris (orange) from the tsunami that hit the north-eastern coast of Japan (upper left) on 11 March 2011 following a large underwater earthquake. As well as killing over 15,000 people, the tsunami swept some 5 million tons of debris out to sea. Most sank, but 1.5 million tons was left floating on the surface. This model is the Surface Currents from Diagnostic (SCUD) model. Orange and red areas have a high probability of containing floating debris. The deeper the red color, the higher the likely concentration. The simulation runs for one year, to April 2012 (timer bar at bottom), by which time the debris field stretches roughly 5000 by 2000 kilometres across the North Pacific. Much of the debris will end up in the North Pacific Gyre, while some will reach the coast of North America during 2012 and 2013. Hawaii is at lower right. This model was developed at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawaii.
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