Trivia

Hard

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

Rubber Ducks
Radioactive Waste
Crude Oil
Packing Peanuts
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

The Exhaustion People Feel After Quitting Coffee Is A Result Of Hypersensitivity To?

Trivia

Hard

Thanks To Changes In 2015 French Bakers Can Now?

Trivia

Hard

The Carnivoran Mammal With The Largest Geographic Range Is The?

Trivia

Hard

Website Security CAPTCHA Forms Are Descended From the Work of?

Trivia

Hard

The First CPU Widely Used In Hobbyist Computers Was The?

Trivia

Hard

Placebos Work Better If They?

Trivia

Hard

Which Cereal Company Had A Brief Stint As A Video Game Development House?

Trivia

Hard

Besides Humans, The Only Other Animal With A Chin Is The?

Trivia

Very Hard

Comfort Noise Is A Tool Used Widely In Which Industry?

Trivia

Hard

The Only River In The World That Crosses Itself Is The?