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Tsunami Debris Field to Hit Pacific Northwest Next Year

After the waters receded from the tsunami that struck Japan, debris that was swept out to sea will be washing ashore on the west coast of North America next year.

There was between 1 million and 2 million tons of debris that washed out to see by March 11, 2011 tsunami and it is riding the oceans current across the North Pacific.

The debris will likely arrive off the coastline of Washington, Oregon and Alaska in 2013, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Hawaii.

Estimates state that up to 8 million tons of debris washed out to sea. Most of it, however, was large heavy items such as rooftops, cars and twisted metal that sank just off shore.

Speaking with reporters in a conference call which was organized by the marine stewardship group Ocean Conservancy, Nikolai Maximenko explained that the debris field is now not dense and is spread over a large area.

"Typically, people see one object at a time," said Maximenko, a senior researcher at the University of Hawaii's International Pacific Research Center.

With the help of computer models scientists were able to predict the projected path of the debris field. The debris field is expected to hit northwestern Hawaiian islands soon.

The leading edge of the main debris field is expected to make land fall in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska sometime next year.

Then, scientist predict, that the debris is expected to join the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which extends across at least 270,000 square miles of the North Pacific.

"It is an unfortunate series of events that have led to this debris," Jon Rahl, director of tourism marketing for the Seaside Visitors Bureau.

He continued "but any time we can have a unique situation anywhere, let alone the coast, there is going to be a natural draw towards seeing the event."

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