Tsunami Debris Hoax: Floating Island Size of Texas Headed for US

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 05:58 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Reports have run rampant that debris from Japan's 2011 tsunami has formed a massive "trash island" the size of Texas floating in the Pacific and is headed for U.S. coastlines, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that the story is not true.

"There is no mass 'flotilla' of debris headed toward U.S. coasts," an NOAA spokesperson told Salon.com.

So how did this rumor get started? While it's true that the tsunami washed about 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean, about 70 percent of that trash sank off the coast. The remaining wreckage is scattered, not fused together in some type of floating junk field.

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The NOAA released a map from September, which shows the "expected distribution of simulated particles." Pictured is what appears to be a massive outlined area that probably confused people into thinking a Texas-sized island of trash was headed for the West Coast.  

But the outlined section is simply an illustration of where there is a higher concentration of trash particles, not a gigantic heap.

Scientists also recently found that the debris that has washed up on U.S. coastlines contains organisms native to Japan.

"At first we were only thinking about objects like the floating docks, but now we’re finding that all kinds of Japanese organisms are growing on the debris," John Chapman of the Marine Science Center at Oregon State University told FoxNews.com. "We've found over 165 non-native species so far." 

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