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New wave of possible tsunami debris arriving on Hawaii shores

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Nov 13 2013 05:25:00 PM HST

A 20-foot wood beam washed up on a Hawaii beach could indicate that a new wave of tsunami debris is heading for the islands.

HONOLULU -

Different types of possible tsunami debris are starting to wash up on the islands' shorelines. A recent piece found was a 20-foot wood beam that washed up on Malaekahana Beach on Oahu.

Researchers believe it is probably from a home in Japan.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.

Gisela Speidel, outreach specialist for University of Hawaii, International Pacific Research Center, said if the piece did come from Japan, it could indicate a new wave of tsunami debris is headed our way.

"It really looks like different type of debris is coming in. Before, it was oyster buoys, the things that floated, boats that sat high in the water. They are more wind-driven," said Speidel.

Now, the debris is more current-driven -- pieces that sit deeper in the water, debris that didn't sink completely.

"I'm thinking that perhaps these wooden pieces are the one percentage windage and this is now coming here," said Speidel.

A picture sent to the IPRC team from someone in Kahuku shows a wooden beam with lettering made of plastic denoting a village somewhere in Japan.

There was another wooden beam found earlier this month on Hanamaulu Beach on Kauai.

"They have very nice mortise features with cut-out wood," said Speidel.

Some have measurements that scientists say aren't commonly used in the U.S. As these types of pieces head toward Hawaii, researchers have safety concerns.

"They twirl around the ocean as a swimmer. You can get knocked by them, and then they are hazardous for boats," said Speidel.

Digital maps show pieces like these will continue showing up on our shores all winter long. UH scientists hope to send DNA samples to researchers to confirm that they are debris from Japan.

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