Earthquake seismometer washes up on Haida Gwaii

There is seemingly no end to the variety of items washing up on the shores of Haida Gwaii three years after the great Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

One of the more surprising finds is a seismometer from Japan that may be loaded with valuable information.

The University of Japan lost contact with it after the earthquake and tsunami struck in March 2011.

Four weeks ago, 39-year-old Trent Moraes was out on the remote west coast of Haida Gwaii on a food fishing trip with family.

They noticed a lot of debris in the rough seas, much of it clearly from the 2011 tsunami, but they big orange ball, seen on the left of your screen, crusted with gooseneck barnacles.

It was an earthquake seismometer, direct from Japan.

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The $200,000 device measures movement in the ground, including seismic waves.

The earthquake research institute at the University of Tokyo had deployed it in 2010, before the earthquake, tethering it to the ocean floor.

When they went back afterwards to retrieve it, hoping to get access to its valuable data, the seismometer was gone, they assumed lost in the tsunami.

There have been many interesting finds this summer because the currents and winds are bringing in a lot more stuff.

So far, the Haida Gwaii tsunami debris committee has pulled in more than 100 cubic metres.

But with a huge coastline to cover, much of it extremely remote, a lot of debris ends up staying on the beach.

However, nothing has created as much excitement as the seismometer especially for the researchers at the University of Tokyo. They’re sending someone here to pick it up.

It leaves Trent Moraes and the Highlander crew wondering, just what will they pull up next?

— with files from Elaine Yong

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