Don: We'll know where but still difficult to find wreckage

Don: We'll know where but still difficult to find wreckage
Police and gendarmes carry a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015.
PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA - Scientists can know where MH370 is if the piece of debris found on Reunion Island is from the missing MAS plane.

However, they warn that this did not mean the wreckage could be found easily, with the Indian Ocean currents capable of floating debris over thousands of kilometres.

"Pinpointing the exact location is very difficult," said UKM oceanographer Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang. "But at least, they might be able to see where the area (of the plane might be)."

Scientists, he said, would be able to create a simulation of where the debris might have come from and follow that to a source.

However, there was no telling whether MH370 or parts of it were in the middle of the ocean, on its surface or on the ocean floor, he said.

The southern Indian Ocean is the world's third largest, bordering Asia, Africa and Oceania. It is also one of the least studied and has a maximum depth of nearly 8,000m.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Prof Dr Maged Mahmoud Marghany said ocean eddies or whirlpools would have moved MH370 debris west of where it might have crashed.

"Mostly, this eddy happens in March during the monsoon (period) of the Indian Ocean.

"The ocean current (there) moves in a big circle, (with things in the water moved at a speed of) around 50km a day," he said.

Dr Maged said the way the ocean worked meant that any debris could have been moved away from Australia towards Africa's east.

He added that ocean currents there also moved in an anti-clockwise direction.

 

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