12 Sep 2011

Tsunami debris invades the Pacific

9:35 pm on 12 September 2011

Researchers say tonnes of debris from the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan is now drifting hundreds of kilometres out into the Pacific where it could present a hazard to marine life and to shipping.

Nikolai Maximenko from the University of Hawaii's Pacific Research Centre says the debris is believed to be a few hundred kilometres east of the Midway islands - more than 4000 kms east of Tokyo.

The ABC reports that, according to Japanese estimates, the tsunami created about 25 million tonnes of rubble and debris, some of which was sucked out to sea by the retreating waves.