Tag Archives | Pacific Ocean

What Caused The Red Glow Over the Pacific?

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What do you think caused it?

via Mysterious Universe:

The pilot and co-pilot of a Boeing 747-8 flying from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska, were passing near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka when they observed a fiery reddish glow over the Pacific. With no other planes in the area at the time to confirm the sighting, they took pictures of and reported to Air Traffic Control, then completed the flight to Anchorage. So … what was it?

On August 24, 2014, Dutch pilot and photographer JPC van Heijst was five hours into the ten hour flight when he spotted a single intense bolt of light shoot vertically into the air. There were no other flashes or storms in the area or on their radar. Twenty minutes later, he saw the red glow. Having heard reports of earthquakes in California, Chile and Iceland, he checked for quakes or volcanic activity on the route but saw no alerts.

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The Ocean Is Broken

Pacific-garbage-patch-map 2010 noaamdpAustralia’s Newcastle Herald describes the sorry tale of Ivan Macfadyen’s adventures in the polluted Pacific Ocean. Here’s a particularly depressing excerpt:

“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.

“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea.

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Here Comes the Toxic Fukushima Debris!

HedorahWill Godzilla save the U.S. West Coast from Hedorah? Via ScienceDaily:

The first anniversary is approaching of the March, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated Fukushima, Japan, and later this year debris from that event should begin to wash up on U.S. shores — and one question many have asked is whether that will pose a radiation risk.

The simple answer is, no. Nuclear radiation health experts from Oregon State University who have researched this issue following the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant say the minor amounts of deposition on the debris field scattered in the ocean will have long since dissipated, decayed or been washed away by months of pounding in ocean waves.

However, that’s not to say that all of the debris that reaches Pacific Coast shores in the United States and Canada will be harmless. “The tsunami impacted several industrial areas and no doubt swept out to sea many things like bottled chemicals or other compounds that could be toxic,” said Kathryn Higley, professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at OSU …

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Japanese Engineers Plug Fukushima Leak

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Photo: DigitalGlobe-Imagery

This sounds familiar, did they get advice from BP? The Guardian reports:

Engineers battling to contain the crisis at Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear power plant appeared to have turned an important corner last night after they stopped highly radioactive water from leaking into the ocean from one of the facility’s crippled reactors.

Workers struggling to halt the leaks successfully used a mixture of sawdust, newspaper, concrete and a type of liquid glass to stem the flow of contaminated water near a seaside pit, said the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).

Earlier efforts involving cement, an absorbent polymer and rags were unsuccessful in plugging the leak, which was discovered on Saturday, while radiation of more than 7.5 million times the legal limit for seawater was found just off the earthquake-hit plant.

In a sign of Tepco’s desperation, it breached its own regulations on Monday by beginning an intentional discharge of 11,500 tonnes of less contaminated water into the Pacific to make space for the highly radioactive liquid that was seeping out in an uncontrolled manner.

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People Eat Fish That Eat Fish That Eat Plastic

Plastic FishWhy don't we just start eating fish made out of plastic? Simplify the food chain. Eric S. Page writes on NBC San Diego:
Scientists exploring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have made another disturbing discovery, according to a published report. The UCSD scientists returned from their trip to the Northern Pacific in August, bringing back tales, pictures and more than 100 samples from a blob of degraded plastic that is reportedly the size of Texas or bigger. Now, in addition to the large concentration of plastic, Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers have determined some of the fish in the area are eating it. "We did indeed find some indisputable pieces of plastic in their guts," Pete Davison, a Scripps graduate student dissecting the fish, told the voiceofsandiego.org.
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Are There Really ‘Continents’ of Floating Garbage?

Map of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ) within the North Pacific Gyre. Also the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Source: NOAA

Map of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ) within the North Pacific Gyre. Also the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Source: NOAA

From Daily Galaxy [Disinfo editor's note: This story dates from Dec. 31, 2007 but appears still to be relevant. See also this report from 2008.]:

Since stories have started surfacing more recently, many have wondered, if the rumors are true. Are there really ‘continents’, or massive floating garbage patches residing in the pacific ocean? Apparently, the rumors are true, and these unsightly patches are reportedly killing marine life and releasing poisons that enter the human food chain, as well. However, before you start imagining a plastic version of Maui, keep in mind that these plastic patches certainly aren’t solid surfaced islands that you could build a house on! Ocean currents have collected massive amounts of garbage into a sort of plastic “soup” where countless bits of discarded plastic float intertwined just beneath the surface.

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Deep-Sea Volcano Erupts 4,000ft Under The Pacific (Video)

Sophie Tedmanson reports for the Times:
Scientists have filmed a volcanic eruption 4,000ft (1,220m) under the sea causing molten lava to flow across the deep ocean floor. The incredible footage, recorded by a submersible robot, shows the exact moment that a deep-sea volcano erupts from the ocean floor, sending an explosion of bright red lava bubbles and plumes of smoke-like sulphur through the water.
The eruption of the West Mata volcano was filmed by US scientists in May during an underwater expedition south of Samoa. It is the deepest erupting volcano to be discovered. “It was an underwater Fourth of July,” ...
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