Trivia

Hard

An Accidental Spill Of What Has Led To A 30 Year Oceanographic Study?

Rubber Ducks
Crude Oil
Packing Peanuts
Radioactive Waste
Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer posing with flotsam he uses to monitor ocean currents.
Rick Rickman/Wikimedia

Answer: Rubber Ducks

In 1992, twelve shipping containers were washed off of a freighter enroute from Hong Kong to the United States. Among the containers washed off the ship was one packed with a delivery for The First Years, Inc. (formerly Kiddie Products, Inc.)—thousands of rubber ducks, frogs, turtles, and beaver bath toys.

Unlike most bath toys, the Friendly Floatees line of toys from The First Years had no drainage holes and were thus completely water tight—leaving them to float on indefinitely unless damaged. Two Seattle-based oceanographers—Curtis Ebbesmeyer, seen here, and James Ingraham—jumped on the odd event as the opportunity of a lifetime.

In normal oceanographic drift pattern studies, 500-1,000 drift bottles are released. The spill of bath toys represented an unprecedented opportunity to track ocean currents as a whopping 28,800 of them had spilled out of the damaged cargo container. Within ten months, the bath toys began washing up on the shores of islands off the coast of Alaska. Curious beach combers and school children have been recovering them around the world ever since.

The high recovery rate and the large distances the bath toys have traveled have played a critical role in both the refinement of theories surrounding ocean currents and movement as well as in raising awareness about environmental conditions and the interconnectivity of the world’s oceans.

Trivia

Hard

What Product Was The First To Be Advertised Into Deep Space?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Odd And Rigid Positioning Of The Arms Often Seen After A Concussion Is Called The?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Stadium In The World Is Located In?

Trivia

Hard

In A Blind Taste Test, Spoons Of Which Metal Type Made Food Taste Best?

Trivia

Hard

The Original Macintosh Keyboard Was Missing What Common Modern Keyboard Feature?

Trivia

Hard

What Sci-Fi Novel Has Appeared On Military Reading Lists The World Over?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Fi Actor’s Ashes Were Launched Into Space Multiple Times?

Trivia

Hard

Which Food Has Never Been An Official McDonald’s Mascot?

Trivia

Hard

Who Is The Longest Serving Voice Actor In Video Gaming?

Trivia

Hard

The First Comic Book Superhero To Get Rebooted Into A New Character Was?