While the search continues for the missing Malaysian plane, one word has come back into the news that some people may have never heard before:  Flotsam.

When satellite photos showed an area of floating materials - the original hope was that it was the plane.  However, experts are now saying that these materials are simply flotsam.  Easy word - but what does it mean?

Flotsam is defined as a grouping of garbage and debris (usually plastic and light metals) that are floating in the ocean.  Ocean currents tend to collect all of the larger pieces of garbage that end up in the water, pooling them together as an enormous mass that floats along together.

The issue was in the news a few years ago as well when scientists suggested that flotsam was affecting the habitats of fish and corral - not to mention our weather patterns.

About five years ago, there was an interesting article that was written about the problem by the New York Times.  Click here to learn more.