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Creature Feature

Claim:   Photographs show unusual deep-sea creatures washed up by the March 2011 Japanese tsunami.

REAL PHOTOGRAPHS; INACCURATE DESCRIPTION

Example:

[Collected via e-mail, April 2011]

Creatures Found At Seaside After JAPAN TSUNAMI

Everyone knows, the tsunami in Japan was devastating, both in the loss of life and economically to the region. However, now that the cleanup is underway in the region, deep sea creatures that live too deep to be studied are being found scattered throughout the wreckage. These creatures were washed up on shore when the waves hit.
 

[Collected via e-mail, December 2004]

Phuket Deep Sea Creatures - Found At Seaside After TSUNAMI

As everyone knows, the tsunami in Southeast Asia was devastating both in the loss of life and economically to the region. However now that the clean up is underway in the region, deep sea creatures that live too deep to be studied are being found scattered throughout the wreckage. These creatures were washed up on shore when the waves hit.

Amazing what lives so far below the surface isn't it? It is ironic how terrible human tragedy and natural disaster can lead to unprecedented expansion of scientific knowledge.

The theory is the tsunami created enough vertical currents to sweep these deep living creatures to the surface quickly. The gases in their blood expanded rapidly causing death (like divers ascending too quickly).

 

Origins:   In the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, just about any unusual or remarkable photographs connected with oceanic phenomena were being attributed to that disaster, and this collection of pictures is a
prime example. Likewise, the same set of pictures was dusted off in April 2011 and attributed to the tsunami that hit Japan the previous month.

Although they are genuine images of some rather strange deep-sea creatures, these photographs have nothing to do with a tsunami in the Indian Ocean or Japan. They date from mid-2003 and were taken as part of the NORFANZ voyage, a joint Australian-New Zealand research expedition conducted in May-June 2003 to explore deep sea habitats and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea. These photographs can be viewed on Australia's National Oceans Office web site.

Last updated:   20 April 2011

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