In Brief

Possible Tsunami Debris Washes Up In California

tsunami debris boat
Possible tsunami debris, this boat was found in Crescent City, Calif. (Image credit: Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group)

A possible piece of tsunami debris from the 2011 Japan earthquake was discovered Sunday night (April 7) on a Northern California beach.

The skiff has several numbers and Japanese writing hiding under the massive pile of tubular gooseneck barnacles encrusting the top and sides. It washed ashore about a mile north of Crescent City, where 12 people died in a 1964 tsunami caused by an earthquake in Alaska.

The boat is not radioactive, according to a Facebook post by the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group at Humboldt State University. Scientists with the group plan to test whether the barnacles are native to the Western Pacific, the Eureka Times-Standard reported.

Lettering on a boat washed up on a California beach may indicate it came from Japan, set adrift after the 2011 tsunami. (Image credit: Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group)

Photos of the boat were sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which collects and verifies reports of tsunami debris. Of the roughly 1,690 official debris reports submitted to NOAA, 25 items have been confirmed as definite Japan tsunami debris, the newspaper said.

The devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami dumped 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. About 1.5 million tons were set adrift, including two floating docks that beached in Washington and Oregon. In March, live fish were discovered inside a boat washed up in Washington.

Read more: Eureka Times-Standard

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook or Google+.

Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.