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Ocean-Continent Convergent Plate Boundaries

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Japanese Dock
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Japanese Dock Surfs to Oregon!

Topic

Tracking Debris from the Japanese Tsunami

Student Exploration

How did a dock from Japan make its way to a beach in Oregon?

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 continues to have impacts worldwide. In June 2012, a surprise arrived on the shore of Oregon:

'Mystery' dock washes up on Oregon beach

Extension Investigation

  1. What caused a dock from Japan to make its way to Oregon? In order to understand the end result, let’s explore from the beginning: the earthquake! In this article, you can click through the steps of how the March 2011 Japanese earthquake formed: How Shifting Plates Caused the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan As the oceanic plate converges with the continental plate, an earthquake is triggered resulting in an upward displacement of water. The powerful tsunami wave travels away from the earthquake’s epicenter with a wavelength that shortens and wave height that increases as it travels into shallower water.
  2. Why would shallower water cause the wavelength and wave height to change? Use this wave simulator to learn about various wave types and the effect that wind can have on a wave: Wave Machine

Resources Cited

KATU. CNN. http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2012/06/06/dnt-mystery-dock-lands-in-oregon.katu

New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/11/world/asia/maps-of-earthquake-and-tsunami-damage-in-japan.html??smid=fb-nytimes&WT.mc_id=WO-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-HSP-031411-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click#panel/0

Savage Seas. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/savageseas/multimedia/wavemachine.html

Connections to other CK-12 Subject Areas

  • Tsunami (SCI.ESC.364.L.1)
  • 21st Century Tsunami (SCI.ESC.364.1.L.1)
  • Surface Ocean Currents (SCI.ESC.545.L.1)
  • Coastal Pollution (SCI.ESC.547.1.L.1)
  • Ocean Garbage Patch (SCI.ESC.547.2.L.1)

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