Already ship captains have reported tsunami debris in the ocean as the flotsam heads toward the North Pacific Gyre. Here's how ABC says it will go down:
More than 200,000 buildings were washed out to sea by the tsunami and now a powerful current called the North Pacific Gyre is carrying everything towards the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California before looping back towards Hawaii and Asia.
Stuff moves from Asia to California at a rate of 5 to 10 miles per day, meaning that debris from northern Japan could be here in about a year, Ebbesmeyer says.
He told ABC:
So you have to imagine a city say the size of about Seattle, put it through a grinder and what happens? You wind up with all kinds of debris - bodies, boats everything from a person's life including the living themselves and half that's probably going to float.
Other oceanographers have disputed that bodies would end up here, though, citing the macabre specter of sea-life scavenging.
Still, some of the stuff, wood from homes with protruding nails, toxic waste such as paint cans, will probably wash ashore in California in 2012, and it could be dangerous.