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Huge Chunk of Japanese Dock Reaches Shores… in Oregon
by Susana Polo | 2:46 pm, June 8th, 2012
This is the giant chunk of dock that was knocked loose over a year ago in Misawa, Japan during the tsunami that followed the Tohoku Earthquake, and was not seen by human eyes again until this week, when it arrived in Agate Beach, Oregon. It weighs one hundred and eighty tons and is sixty feet long, so it’s kind of a miracle that nobody saw it on its slow journey across the Pacific, or even crashed into it.
But the most dangerous thing about it may actually be the stuff that was living on it.
It’s not as if the dock had to go through customs, after all, and declare if it was bringing any live animals or plants over with it.
Because it would have had to declare a lot of stuff. The dock carried starfish, tiny crabs, algae, “Japanese acorn barnacles, mussels, and the known invasive species wakame, a type of seaweed.” While Oregonian officials have not quite figured out what the best thing to do with the dock itself would be, they’re already organizing volunteers to recover and capture all the wildlife that made the perilous journey with it.
John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University said [the organisms] posed a “very clear threat”.
“It’s exactly like saying you threw a bowling ball into a china shop. It’s going to break something. But will it be valuable or cheap glass? It’s incredibly difficult to predict what will happen next.”
Meanwhile, traffic jams have been caused by people queueing up to see the dock, and police have been deployed to stop people from climbing on it.
It’s not the first sizable debris from the tsunami to be found in North America. An entire motorcycle was also recovered, fixed up, and sent back to its owner. Sending the dock back may be less feasible. The port in Misawa says they’re not really interested in it anymore.
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