Oregon Coast, Japanese Scientists Need Help Finding Transponders in Tsunami Research
(Oregon Coast) – The volunteer environmental organization CoasWatch is asking the public to continue keeping an eye out for a certain kind of tsunami debris that is actually an important instrument for scientists.
After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, scientists set afloat a host of transponders about the size and shape of a soda bottle, and these devices are integral to tsunami research being coordinated between Oregon and Japan. State authorities and CoastWatch are asking those walking the beaches of the Oregon coast to report any, if found.
The transponders are orange and yellow and are about the size of a 2-liter bottle. So far, only a few have been discovered on Pacific Ocean beaches, including one in 2013 at Arch Cape and another that may have been hit land at Graham Island, British Columbia. A third appears to be drifting offshore near Vancouver Island in the Juan De Fuca Strait.
They were set in the ocean at various Japanese ports shortly after the tsunami, and now researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been collaborating with Oregon State University, Oregon Sea Grant, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program on the project.
“An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris washed out to sea and it is expected to continue drifting ashore along the West Coast of the United States for several years,” said CoastWatch director Phillip Johnson.
If a transponder is found, CoastWatch asks that you contact Dr. Matsumura (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sam Chan of Oregon Sea Grant (email@example.com) so they can learn where the transponder washed up or was found at sea and provide logistics for shipping it back to Japan.
“These transponders only have a battery life of about 30 months and then they no longer communicate their location,” said Chan. “So the only way to find out where they end up is to physically find them and report their location. That’s why we need the help of fishermen, beachcombers and other coastal visitors.”
Each contains transmitters and are not hazardous. More on reporting them at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/contact-us.
Latest in Oregon Coast Tsunami Debris News - How to Report Tsunami Debris More photos of Oregon coast tsunami debris below:
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