(Yereth Rosen/Reuters, 23 April 2012) -- A soccer ball that bobbed onto the shore of a remote Alaska island is likely the first salvageable debris from last year's Japanese tsunami that could be returned to its owner, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The ball, found on Alaska's Middleton Island, bears writing that identifies its place of origin, said Doug Helton, operations coordinator for NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration, which is tracking debris from the tsunami. According to a translation provided by Tokyo-based journalists, the ball is from the Osabe School in the Iwate Prefecture, an area that was hit by the devastating tidal wave unleashed March 11 by the magnitude 9 earthquake off Japan's northeastern coast, Helton said Sunday. Beachcombers and cleanup workers in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest have found debris, including sports equipment, that was likely set adrift by the tsunami, Helton said. But this soccer ball stood out because it had identifying information. The ball was found by David Baxter, a technician at a radar station on Middleton Island, a remote site in the Gulf of Alaska.
Posted 24 April 2012; 11:12:53 AM. Permalink
(Jason Farmer /RedOrbit.com, 24 April 2012) -- Scientists believe they have made the very first sighting of an adult white killer whale, according to various media reports. The adult male was spotted off the coast of Kamchatka in eastern Russia. Scientists have nicknamed the whale Iceberg. The whale appears to be in good health and is living with a normal pod. Occasionally, white whales of other species are seen, but prior to this sighting, the only known white orcas have been young. The sighting of the white whale was made by a group of Russian scientists and students, co-led by Dr Erich Hoyt, a long-time orca researcher. “It has the full two-meter-high dorsal fin of a mature male, which means it’s at least 16 years old – in fact the fin is somewhat ragged, so it might be a bit older,” Hoyt told BBC News reporter Richard Black. Adult male orcas can live up to 50 or 60 years, though 30 years old is more the average.
Posted 24 April 2012; 11:09:29 AM. Permalink