Likened to an "alien mother ship" of invasive species, an enormous Japanese dock—set free more than a year ago by that country's deadly tsunami and earthquake—landed on an Oregon beach last week, as seen in a picture snapped last Thursday. Encrusted with a hundred tons of Asian crabs, sea stars, algae, urchins, barnacles, snails, and other life-forms, the 66-foot-long (20-meter-long) dock had floated 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) across the Pacific from the port of Misawa (map). (See National Geographic News's complete Japan earthquake and tsunami coverage.) —Brian Handwerk

Monolith

Likened to an "alien mother ship" of invasive species, an enormous Japanese dock—set free more than a year ago by that country's deadly tsunami and earthquake—landed on an Oregon beach last week, as seen in a picture snapped last Thursday. Encrusted with a hundred tons of Asian crabs, sea stars, algae, urchins, barnacles, snails, and other life-forms, the 66-foot-long (20-meter-long) dock had floated 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) across the Pacific from the port of Misawa (map). (See National Geographic News's complete Japan earthquake and tsunami coverage.) —Brian Handwerk
Photograph by Robin Loznak, Zuma Press

Pictures: Tsunami Dock Is "Alien Mother Ship" of Species

Teeming with invasive life-forms, the Japanese dock that recently hit the U.S. is a "dirty needle that just got stuck into our ecological arm."

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