The Hatfield Marine Science Center will open an exhibit in March featuring a slice of a Japanese dock ripped loose during an earthquake and tsunami and washed up ashore near Newport last year. The big floating dock section attracted a large number of visitors to the agate beach site when it first washed up last year and local people in Newport pushed to keep the dock as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami. The State Parks Department coordinated the job of cleaning invasive species from the dock and then worked for several weeks on a plan to remove it from the beach.
It was decided to slice the steel dock up into sections that could be more easily removed. An initial attempt to move one of those portions to the Science Center ran into a problem when the section proved too large to cross the Highway 101 bridge.
A museum official says the exhibit is a reminder that a similar earthquake and tsunami could happen in the Northwest. The exhibit will open March 10 at the Newport facility operated by Oregon State University. The quake struck on March 11, 2011.
The exhibit includes a tsunami interpretive trail that starts at the center and highlights an evacuation route to higher ground for employees, residents and visitors to Newport's South Beach peninsula.