NOAA: No Solid Mass of Debris from Japan
Heading Toward US

Federal fisheries officials say that there is no solid mass of debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan heading from Japan to the shores of the United States. At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Response and Restoration says in a recent statement. In fact, “it is spread out so much that you could fly a plane over the Pacific Ocean and not see any debris since it is spread over a huge area and most of the debris is small, hard-to-see objects,” the NOAA report said.

A significant amount of debris has already arrived on the shores of the US and Canada and it will likely continue arriving in the same scattered way over the next several years, according to NOAA. During the winter storm season, NOAA and partners are expecting to see more debris coming ashore in North American, including tsunami debris mixed in with the normal marine debris.

NOAA officials say they have modeled the movement of the debris and the model shows the overall spread of all simulated debris and an area where there may be a higher concentration of lower floating debris, such as wood, in one part of the Pacific Ocean, but that does not mean it is in a mass, nor does it tell NOAA how much there is. Rather it shows there is more debris in some areas than others.

Meanwhile the monitoring continues and NOAA invites inquiries on the debris issue, which may be emailed to