Researchers: Radioactive materials detected off California, levels spike to 400% normal — Crew then discovers ‘island’ of tsunami debris — Never seen so much garbage in ocean before — TV: “Disturbing new images from Pacific… looks like islands of plastic” 1,000 miles from coast — 7 tons and 80 ft. long, can walk on it as if land (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

Published: July 28th, 2014 at 4:09 pm ET
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Algalita Marine Research Institute Blog, July 7, 2014: Radioactive Rope — Just after midday a piece of rope was pulled aboard. As part of our logging protocol, I brought out the Geiger counter and took a reading. The ambient reading that morning had been about 30 CPM so it was a surprise when the reader climbed, and spiked at 120 CPM – our highest reading yet.

AMRF, July 13, 2014 at 5:57a: Charlie spotted a black spot on the horizon he thought looked to be something industrial [...] By the time we were several hundred meters away, we could see a series of black buoys, maybe 70 of them, with a few orange floats mixed in as well. To be less conspicuous and not disturb whatever might be living in, on, or around it, Jesus rowed us in for final approach [...] It was amazing to see the school of more than 50 mahi mahi [...]

AMRF, July 13, 2014 at 8:12p: Alguita and Crew spent the night moored to the approximately 7 ton island [and] mapped the island this morning using [...] a tape measure to get its size [...] It would be capable of causing considerable damage to even large ships. [...] The plastic debris the island has accumulated is substantial [...] For years I have been telling people that there is no such thing as a “plastic island” in the Pacific Gyre. I now have a map of one that has aspects of permanence, a metal anchor 40 feet deep, solid rope beaches, some of which you can walk on as if you were on land.

AMRF, July 27, 2014: [The] Lantern fish or ‘myctophids’ [...] stomach contents were analyzed and no obvious plastic particles were found, which is interesting and a bit surprising. The liver size and color is significant as it indicates a response to pollutants – the lighter color liver likely suggesting more exposure to pollutants.

ABC 7, July 15, 2014: Disturbing new images from the Pacific Ocean, what looks like islands of plastic [...] “They found a lot more plastic farther away from the area that’s called the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ than they’ve ever seen. So they ran across it sooner than they expected, and it was a lot of debris,” said Algalita Executive Director Marieta Francis. [...] They’re… taking samples to determine… whether the livers of fish… are riddled with toxins [...]

89.3 KPCC, July 21 2014: Island of trash discovered in Pacific 1,000 miles off California coast [...] The mass is made up of fishing gear, nets and buoys that are believed to have come from [Japan's] 2011 tsunami [...] it has [...] become so  compact and large that researchers were able to stand on it in places. “It’s 80 feet long. It’s about 30 feet across in some places. If you were looking down from above, it would look like an island floating in the middle of the ocean,” said Marita Francis [...] it’s the first time her organization has seen something like it. [...] the researchers [...] saw more instances of garbage on this trip than ever before. “On this expedition, they’ve seen more debris in the ocean than they’d ever seen before,” Francis said.

Watch the ABC broadcast here

Published: July 28th, 2014 at 4:09 pm ET
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