Tsunami, such a fun word to say, such an ugly phenomenon to consider. On March 11, following a 9.0 earthquake that struck Honshu, the largest island in Japan, devastating coastal cities, moving the entire island some eight feet east, shifting the earth's axis between four and ten inches, tsunami waves estimated as high as 133 feet and rushing six miles inland added to the devastation of the earthquake, killing an estimated 22,000 people, destroying everything in its wake.
And now there seems to be a Sargasso Sea of debris floating across the Pacific toward the Midway Islands, then Hawaii, then the west coasts of Canada and the United States. Talk about flotsam and jetsam. This massive mess consists of between 5 and 20 million tons of appliances, boats, automobiles, furniture, you name it, all the materials that the Japanese people once considered the "stuff" of their lives. Its size is estimated to be about 2,000,000 square miles, or about seven Texases, or about the same size as the Sargasso Sea. And just one Texas is about twice as big as Japan, the place from which this man-made sargassum mess originated. It simply boggles my mind that the debris from the coast of Japan now occupies an area of the Pacific 14 times larger than the entirety of Japan. It doesn’t seem possible. But there it is, measured by those who measure such things. And it’s floating toward us, estimated to reach the U.S. sometime in 2014. None of the accounts I’ve read say anything about what we’ll need to do before that 2014 appointment. Maybe we could construct a two million square mile net, drop it over the stuff, pull it tight, hook it up to several very powerful rockets, then cart the whole thing up and dispose of it in some universal garbage dump. But that doesn’t sound very practical. Maybe we could drop any number of nuclear bombs on it to get the whole thing to sink, then let the ocean bottom worry about it. Nah, not likely. Or maybe there’s nothing we can do. And nothing has been said about the ecological damage this mess will have on the Pacific Ocean. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.