Talk:North Pacific Gyre

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Rubber ducks travelling the seas[edit]

I have added the following to the talk pages for Rubber duck and North Pacific Gyre.

There is a story about yellow plastic ducks travelling the seas, after being lost from a cargo ship in 1992.

I think this story deserves to be documented in the Wikipedia — it is amusing, interesting, notorious, and of some scientific significance. Can anyone find a good article title, and write this? --Niels Ø 10:58, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Looks like an excellent addition, but does it need its own article? It could easily be put under the section of this page dealing with famous interactions between flotsam and the gyre. I'd add it myself, but I'm a little snowed under with non-Wiki work at present! Ziggurat 22:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I don't think the rubber duck story explicitly involves the North Pacific Gyre, so I don't think it belongs here, other than as a reference.--Niels Ø 10:00, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
But see Friendly Floatees!--Niels Ø 20:50, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


", and LEGOS in 1997." "* LEGOs and Other Floating Flotsam (from Miami Herald 5/98)" I have removed these from the article seeing as they refer to the Atlantic Gyre, not the North Pacific Gyre. If someone creates an article for the Atlantic Gyre, they could definitely go there. Ziggurat 19:03, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Pacific and Eastern Garbage Patch Confusion[edit]

I am very confused: Is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the Eastern Garbage patch the same thing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chimchar monferno (talkcontribs) 20:14, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a separate article[edit]

The garbage patch should be a seperate article, as it it pretty fascinating and distinct from the ancient natural feature on this page. It is roughly the size of Africa, it occasionally drifts to Hawaii and coats the beaches, and people should be more aware of it's existence. I would like to write it but the link I put in the text GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH redirects to NORTH PAC GYRE. does anyone know how to undo the link? Brallan 21:00, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not convinced that it should be separated, as the two are so closely linked and information on it fits here with no problems. Perhaps it would be better to add the information to this article instead of starting a new one? In any case, if you want to separate them out (as I said, I'm against it, but it's a free Wikipedia :) you should edit this link: [7]. Regards, Ziggurat 21:07, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I think they should be separated out. Suppafly 12:57, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Both articles would be very short, and I think most readers would want to read both anyway. I suggest levaing things as they are, at least till the article has grown a good deal longer (if ever that happens).--Niels Ø 13:41, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
My suggestion would be to simply create separate sections of a single page. It would be repetitive to need to include the natural reasons for the Garbage Patch on it's own page. 22:45, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunatly, the discussion of Moore's 2001 article is incorrect, as he doesn't state that the size of the garbage is the size of Texas; he merely presents a ratio of pieces of plastic per square kilometer of 3x10^6.Dondelelcaro 03:55, 23 October 2007 (UTC)


I'm wondering why there are no pictures here? Is the Pacific Garbage Patch not visible from the surface? Is it difficult to photograph? This isn't so much a comment about this page as a question about coverage of this topic in general. The Pacific Garbage Patch is described as being the size of Texas. Why is it that there seem to be almost no photographs of something so large? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mattmorg55 (talkcontribs) 17:23, 25 April 2007 (UTC).

Rather than biodegrading, plastic photodegrades, disintegrating in the ocean into smaller and smaller pieces. This is the reason why; most of the plastic is too small to see. I have heard that if you trawl the area with a fine net, though, you'll come up with a sand-like mass of white & blue plastic particles. -
That shouldn't matter. You can see plankton blooms on satellite photographs, and that's single cell life forms - significantly smaller than sand-sized pieces of plastic. If there was a plankton bloom the size of texas, it would be easily seen. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
I would like to third the request for pictures or even a map, it would add so much to this story but I am not expert enough to produce a map myself. 17:07, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I too wondered much the same when I first heard. After spending 30mins searching for ANY picture of this 'texas-sized island', know what I found? Nothing, nada, zip, zero. Not a single shred of pictorial evidence at all. Hell, I'd even consider a picture FROM A BOAT OF THIS ISLAND as some sort of proof but again, nothing. I am putting this little 'thought' in the 'major urban myth' category that has grown way out of proportion. 22:00, 3 February 2008 (EST)

The reason there are no photographs is the plastic actually lies just below the surface of the water. I assure you, however, this is no myth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:00, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

There are 2 pix at the external link I just added to David Shukman's report from Midway Atoll. Pawyilee (talk) 13:09, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Waste portion removed, does not exist[edit]

The waste portion of the article was completely made up by Greenpeace and all article on the web discussing the phenomena also link back to Greenpeace and no true independent scientific source. It should be treated as suspect and kept from ever being included in the article until independent scientists validate such claims.

While it is true waste in the oceans is a probem, the problem described by these sources would be of a magnitude hundreds of time greater than the Alaskan oil spill. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:56, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Hello, I originally came to this page to read about the "plastic continent the size of texas". I agree that there is no reliable source for this and am also skeptical about the size of some of these complaints. However, I did restore the pollution section as some of the claims may be valid. Please add additional sources which either complement or disprove these existing claims. I am not comfortable with removing the majority of the article without proof, one way or the other. Thanks. Turtlescrubber 17:30, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi. I agree the issue of waste should remain until irrefutably disproven. ↔ Dennywuh 23:44, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, I think it's almost the opposite. The waste needs to be proven with reliable sources to remain in it's current form. Feel free to chime in with proper sources that prove these claims. Turtlescrubber 00:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
That the waste is there has been proven beyond any doubt, the only issues are its size and consequences. A few sources for your perusal:
  • Floating plastic in the Kuroshio Current area, western North Pacific Ocean — Rei Yamashita and Atsushi Tanimura [Marine Pollution Bulletin; volume 54, issue 4, pages 485-488 (2007)]
  • Movement and accumulation of floating marine debris simulated by surface currents derived from satellite data — Masahisa Kubota, Katsumi Takayama and Noriyuki Horii [School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokai University (2000)]
  • Pelagic plastics and other seaborne persistent synthetic debris — M R Gregory and P G Ryan [Marine Debris: Sources, Impacts, Solutions; pages 49-66 — J M Coe and D B Rogers (1997)]
  • A comparison of plastic and plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre — Charles J Moore, Shelly L Moore, Molly K Leecaster and Stephen B Weisberg
  • Density of plastic particles found in zooplankton trawls from coastal waters of California to the North Pacific Central Gyre — Charles J Moore, Gwen L Lattin and Ann F Zellers
  • The quantitative distribution and characteristics of neuston plastic in the North Pacific Ocean, 1984-1988 — R H Day, D G Shaw and S E Ignell (1990)
The kind of people who think it's acceptable to decimate articles just because they're unable to find corroboration via a quick Google search shouldn't be editing an enciclopædia. ↔ Dennywuh 12:07, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Once again I disagree with you. I believe the people adding the information bear the burden of proof and not the ones who are trying to remove incorrect or unverified information. Please, by all means, do some work on the article. However, if you think it's okay to say that there is a solid land mass the size of texas rotating in this gyre with out proof, then you are dead wrong. Most wikipedia edits provide important functions, like the anon above that brought this matter to our attention. Maybe it's people with dismissive attitudes towards well meaning editors who shouldn't be allowed to edit?Turtlescrubber 13:33, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Turtlescrubber: This article has included mention of floating debris since its creation by Ziggurat in November 2005. I agree that since then sources and references may have been scarce, but at least the most current and widely-known aspect of the North Pacific Gyre, the accumulation of flotsam in the area, has been addressed on the page.
Yesterday, the unnamed user with IP excised all references to waste, the majority of the text of the article, because he/she was unable to find scientific backing on the Web other than a report publicised by Greenpeace in Oct-Nov 2006. This user, a) did no research other than a Web search, and b) assumed Greenpeace was an unreliable source. Exclusively on the basis of these two actions he/she decided to do away with the considered and researched work of many previous editors. That is what I was objecting to in my earlier comment. I apologise if my words seemed to be aimed at you, nothing was further from my intention, I'm aware it was you who reinstated the paragraphs after their deletion. Nevertheless, I think you err when you defend the unnamed editor by calling him/her "well meaning". If that was the case and the user was indeed acting in good faith, he/she would not have edited out the majority of the article without first bringing up the issue on this talk page. You acknowledged this yourself when you reverted the edits and stated, in your first comment, "I am not comfortable with removing the majority of the article without proof".
I wish to defend myself from your accusation of "think[ing] it's okay to say there is a solid land mass the size of texas rotating in this gyre". This is a fallacious and snide comment, as neither the article nor myself have implied such a thing, mainly because the debris is not solid, is not land, and any reference to Texas had been removed from the text before the unnamed edit.
And finally, when you say "like the anon above that brought this matter to our attention", I believe you mean brought this matter to my attention, as you seem to be the only one to have just found out. ↔ Dennywuh 15:37, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
the problem is even evidence from other sources on the web are using Greenpeaces information as the basis of their source. If the Greenpeace information has been constantly considered very suspect by many accredited scientists, how can you trust any other information based on it that just ultimately goes back to the Greenpeace source, one that is quite possibly made up to suit their agenda?
The information should at least have a notation that it is suspect, since there is absolutely no independent scientific claims beyond Greenpeace's own scientists.
I'm assuming the previous unsigned comment was posted by Turtlescrubber. As mentioned above, Greenpeace published their report at the end of 2006. Not one of the six sources I supplied you with earlier is in any way affiliated with Greenpeace, and only one of them is dated after their report. What else do you want? I give you six independent, scientific, reliable, accessible sources and you still kick me back. Are you saying that because you haven't read the references I've supplied they're false? Do some work, go a little further than the first page of Google results before you knock respectable scientists' careers. ↔ Dennywuh 16:06, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Nope, not mine. Turtlescrubber 18:29, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
You should read the article before deciding something isn't in it, "that the size of the "island" is twice the size of Texas, however

Moore's investigation does not state this." Also, I removed your false quotations above. I find that to be extremely rude. I will respond more thoroughly after work. Turtlescrubber 18:33, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Moore has published an article in a relatively reputable journal which provides the scientific evidence for the claim that there is a significant concentration of plastic garbage in the top few meters of the ocean in the Gyre. It's certainly not an island in the "dry land" sense, his evidence based on trawls with a fine mesh net definetly indicate that there is a substantial amount of plastic present in this area. I've relinked the actual article from the paragraph where it's discussed; that's the best thing to read if you want to understand what's actually being discussed here.Dondelelcaro 05:30, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, Moore's article may be the best thing to read but the video is also very explanatory. Moore (although not a scientist) has published scientific research in a scientific journal. However, I am going to change the "island" section with the caveat of "falsely", as there is no proof whatsoever of an island of debris twice the size of Texas. My issue isn't with the facts stated in this section but the non-facts parading as truth. Turtlescrubber 12:37, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Missing references[edit]

Good stuff. Now, can we get rid of the {citations needed} tag? ↔ Dennywuh 15:05, 30 October 2007 (UTC)


Something is very, very wrong with the bit at the top where the "island" is described as being 10 million square miles in size. I don't have the knowledge to make the change myself, but if it is the size of Texas as stated, that's roughly 261,797 sq mi(678,051 square kilometres). Is it possible the "square" was meant to be a "cubed?" I'm still not sure that the numbers add up in that case, but I'm just speculating. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:24, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

No, the two different values have arisen because such a phenomenon is difficult to measure, and the error limits are consequently huge. I have heard estimates ranging from the size of Africa, to continental US, to Texas — Jack (talk) 01:05, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Photodegredation and PCBs[edit]

Hello all. I removed the sentence "The photodegraded plastic can produce pollutants such as PCBs", and replaced it with the more general "Some plastics photodegrade into other pollutants.", because the sentence as written was either misleading or incorrect.

Given what I know about plastics degredation as having a background in physics and ecology and having a friend who is an analytical chemist, the only way a degrading plastic would release PCBs was if the PCBs were in the plastic in the first place, which may be true of a limited number of plastics manufactured in the US before 1970. When I read the sentence initially, I took it to mean "The photodgredation process of a plastic can produce pollutants such as PCBs", which is highly unlikely since PCBs are complex and specific molecules and it would be unlikely for something to degrade into a PCB. If someone is more keen on the matter, by all means, correct my error.

I would accept "The degredation of plastics sometimes releases pollutants such as PCBs", but would still find this objectionable, because this seems to me like such a tiny effect relative to the other environmental consequences (plankton eating plastic, et c). PCBs are often used as a poster-child for toxic molecules, and are frequently invoked where they are not relevant as a scare tactic. As a scientist and an environmentalist, I prefer to keep the facts strait and not try to dazzle people by invoking the horrible affects of PCBs: I would prefer to educate people about the problems associated with plankton toxicity than to convince them that 'plastic waste is bad' based on incorrect or misleading reasoning. (Besides wikipedia and NPOV and all that)

If PCBs are a large effect or if I've missed something, I'd really appreciate a source here, because I'm interested in following up on this. I have always assumed that plastics were not a major source of oceanic PCB contamination. dikaiopolis 22:50, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

The solution of the problem[edit]

Now we have Global solution to destroy the island of plastic trash in open ocean now and forver.

All materia on the planet Earth came from the space. The human kind get all of its materials from the Earth. Every peace of trash is materia which came from the Earth. The place of the trash is back in to the Earth. The lava volume under the Earts crust is giant natural chemical laboratory which can destroy all kind of stuf - in that case the plastics trash. First the plastics trash must to be colected from huge sea "robot - thash colectior". Plastics trash can be colected using comercial ships to drag, pull, an not very big trash colector behind, and then the colected trash to be deposited in to the open ocean trash colecting platform. Then the plastics trash must to be packed in bales. Then the plastics trash bales must be buryed deep under the sea floor in sea volcanos lava chamber. The lava with its high temperature will compleatly destroy the plastics trash. The trash will go there when he came first - from the center of the Earth. The solution is not expencive. Today open ocean oil platforms "pump out" the oil from the earts crust. Now, such but modified kind of platform will "pump in" the bales of plastics trash in to the Earhts crust, but in to the open ocean lava chamber. The trash will be injected in to the volcano by steel pipe under presure. Just like medical injection. This solution is not expencive and it is simple. International money fund must be created for financind this bold, and smart, future pointed solution. Because the trash is in to neutral ocean waters - many countryes must and will donate to the money fund to destroy the trsh deposits.

The plan for destroying the plastics trash deposits: 1. Colecting the plastics trash; 2. Pack the trash in standard bales; 3. Penetrate the earhts crust till lava chamber is found; 4. Inject the trash by steel pipe in to the lava chamber beneath the open ocean floor; 5. Close the lava chamber;

Keep the Earth - she is our space ship.

Wikipedia is not a political discussion forum. -- Beland (talk) 01:07, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

That's my line![edit]

Looks like the Sydney Morning Herald is cribbing from Wikipedia: The Plastic Killing Fields. "Rather than biodegrading, plastic photodegrades, breaking down in the sunlight into smaller and smaller pieces." That's a line I wrote, here, in 2005. Ziggurat 01:20, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

There are two gyres in the northern Pacific, this subtropical one, and the subpolar one. Should this article be renamed "North Pacific Subtropical Gyre"? -- Beland (talk) 01:05, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, quite probably. Though, until North Pacific Subpolar Gyre is created, this probably isn't a pressing issue — Jack (talk) 01:05, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

In the first para of the article, the equivalent of an area of 10 million square miles is given as 34 million square kilometres, when it is in fact 26 million square kilometres. Clicking on the 'square miles' link shows the correct conversion factor. It may be that the square miles answer is wrong, I suppose, and the square km correct!!DonJor (talk) 06:09, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Correction to area[edit]

In the first para of the article, the equivalent of an area of 10 million square miles is given as 34 million square kilometres, when it is in fact 26 million square kilometres. Clicking on the 'square miles' link shows the correct conversion factor. It may be that the square miles answer is wrong, I suppose, and the square km correct!!DonJor (talk) 06:10, 30 April 2008 (UTC)


Now that the Garbage article has been separated, I would like to merge this back to the main article at Gyre. Eusebeus (talk) 16:54, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Tricky to know where the wiki-fenceposts should be as we have Gyre, then the various gyres (only two of which have articles) and then a bunch of sub-gyre units some of which are clearly well known. The limited material available makes it a bit tricky to judge and I am a neophyte in this area. My gut feeling would agree that a Gyre article with the separate gyres as subsections (i.e. merged) and the subgyre bits to have their own pages as they have notability separate from the whole gyre discussion (eg gulf stream etc.). Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:34, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Location confusion[edit]

Just exactly where is it located? From the article: "The North Pacific Gyre, located north of the Pacific Ocean, is one of the five major oceanic gyres. This gyre comprises most of the northern Pacific Ocean". Which is it: "Located north of the Pacific Ocean" or "Comprises most of the northern Pacific Ocean". It can't be both. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:04, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Hello. It actually can be both. For instance, the gyre is located north of the equator, making it "north". The gyre is also big enough to reach all around the pacific (bordered at equator), making it "...most of the northern Pacific Ocean". Hope this answers. Regards. Rehman(+) 00:58, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Nope. It may be north of the equator but it isn't "north of the Pacific Ocean". It would be more better to state that it is in the Northern Pacific Ocean because by stating that it is "north of the Pacific Ocean" it is not in the Pacific Ocean. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. You're right. Kind regards. Rehman(+) 00:52, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Last two lines are semi-political in nature[edit]

The last 2 lines of this article are attempting to downplay the significance of trash in the gyre. More importantly, more than half the article is about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and really should be removed.

Seriously, don't toss your 2 cents into a related article because you couldn't get it into the main one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 21 September 2010 (UTC)