The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

1 of 12
1 of 12

The swirling mass of plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean, known by a handful of names -- the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, North Pacific Gyre, Trash Vortex, and Plastic Graveyard among them -- has been gaining notoriety lately, for all the wrong reasons. It's ballooned to twice the size of the continental U.S., causing a variety of problems, but what does it really look like out there? This satellite photo is just the beginning; get up close and personal with the patch in the rest of the slideshow.

Photo credit: