The 9.0+ mega earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan back in March caused millions of tons of debris to wash into the Pacific Ocean. And for the first time, some of that debris has been spotted drifting between Russia and Hawaii, where officials expect it to hit Hawaiian shores much sooner than their original two-years-from-now estimate.
Russian researcher Nikolai Maximenko and his team recently identified household appliances, furniture, plastic material, and even boats floating in Pacific waters during a recent trek home from Honolulu to Russia aboard the STS Pallada. Their discovery represents the first documented case of Fukushima rubble being identified in waters, and heading towards US land.
“We have a rough estimate of five to 20 million tons of debris coming from Japan,” said University of Hawaii (UH) computer programming researcher Jan Hafner to KITV 4 News in Honolulu. “[The Russian team] saw some pieces of furniture, some appliances, anything that can float, and they picked up a fishing boat. That’s actually our first confirmed report of tsunami debris.”