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Ocean Garbage Patch

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Japanese Dock 2
Teacher Contributed

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. How did it get to Oregon?

2. Where else do you think scientists will find debris? Scientists refer to the accumulation of debris in the ocean as a garbage patch. Here is a map of where debris concentrates in the ocean: Here is a team collecting debris: Pacific Voyage Finds a Sea of Floating Tsunami Debris NOAA has used computer models to predict the movement of the debris from the Japanese tsunami:

3. Use the following simulator (http://las.pfeg.noaa.gov/oscurs/#) to track surface ocean currents from Japan through the Pacific Ocean. At the bottom of the simulator, you can enter in March 11, 2011 as your start date and drag the marker to the coast of Japan. Run the model and note the path of the surface currents. Now try changing some of the optional parameters. What happens to the surface current path as you change each of these?

4. What other kinds of debris do you think they will find? Witness to a Plastic Invasion

5. Track your own marine debris sightings using this app!

Resources Cited

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

NOAA. http://youtu.be/Lo5uH1UJF4A

http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/patch.html

http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/pdf/patch.pdf

http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/tsunamidebris/debris_model.html

Lisa Stark. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/07/the-garbage-cruise-a-sea-of-floating-tsunami-debris/

Laurie Penland. Ocean Portal. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. http://ocean.si.edu/blog/witness-plastic-invasion

Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative. http://sea-mdi.engr.uga.edu/?p=155

Connections to other CK-12 Subject Areas

  • Tsunami (SCI.ESC.364.L.1)
  • 21st Century Tsunami (SCI.ESC.364.1.L.1)
  • Earthquakes at Convergent Plate Boundaries (SCI.ESC.362.2.L.1)
  • Ocean-Continent Convergent Plate Boundaries (SCI.ESC.342.4.L.1)

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