Tsunami debris? Beachcombers report interesting finds

Tsunami debris? Beachcombers report interesting finds
Is it tsunami debris or routine debris? The Japanese dock that washed ashore off Newport has piqued the interest of beachcombers.

FLORENCE, Ore. - Jogging near the South Jetty Beach last week, Rich Colton spotted a black buoy with markings in a language he didn't recognize.

Unsure whether it was safe to touch or not, Colton left the object on the beach - and shared photographs of the objects with KVAL News.

Northwest residents have been bracing for debris since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. | Photos of what they've found on the beach

The situation took on a new dimension last week with the arrival of a massive dock encrusted with sea life.

The Japanese consulate confirmed the dock was from Japan.

Oregon officials concerned about invasive species from an ecosystem 5,000 miles awawy scraped the sea life off the dock and sterilized the surface with torches.

Some of the the 1 1/2 tons of sea creatures were taken for research; the rest were buried in the sand above the high tide line.

The dock inspired beachcombers to visit Newport and keep an eye open up and down the coast.

YouNews reporters have sent photos of floats, cans, a hard hat - even a mannequin head - to KATU.com and KVAL.com, asking: Is this tsunami debris?

David Soloman with the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation said objects from Asia are not uncommon on the Oregon Coast. Park rangers pick up floats and other objects all the time, he said.

But computer models project a steady stream of debris arriving from across the ocean over the next several years.