Monday, March 31, 2014

Geo 730: March 31, Day 455: Trans-Pacific Express

I'll grant the post title is more than a bit hyperbolic, but there's no doubt the arrival of this dock took everyone by surprise. The arrival of tsunami debris was anticipated (and still more is expected, even now), but the dock came much more quickly than anyone guessed it might. In retrospect, if one looks at the debris that has already arrived, it tends to be high-buoyancy, high-profile objects: blocks of Styrofoam, unswamped boats- that is, ones that are still upright, with a minimum of water in their interiors, this dock, and another almost identical one near Forks, Washington. All of these objects would sit high in the water, minimizing drag with respect to the ocean, but maximizing it with respect to the wind. In other words, I suspect the reason they arrived sooner than expected was that the objects themselves acted, in a sense, as sails, increasing the speed with which they were able to traverse the largest body of water on earth.

Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location (approximate).

No comments: