Scientists Record 800-Foot Undersea Wave
Skyscraper-size waves can take an hour to break: study
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2013 6:53 AM CDT
OK, so they don't look quite like this.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Amazing, terrifying, or some combination of both? Scientists have recorded an 800-foot wave breaking at the bottom of the ocean for the first time, Nature World News reports. That's the size of a skyscraper, and these waves can take as long as an hour to break. University of Washington researchers went to the Samoan Passage, a narrow South Pacific Ocean channel that Nature World News and Science Daily refer to as a "bottleneck." That's where dense Antarctic waters funnel through and collide with water of a different density; the surge forms the huge underwater waves.

"Basically the entire South Pacific flow is blocked by this huge submarine ridge," says the lead researcher. "The amount of water that's trying to get northward through this gap is just tremendous—6 million cubic meters of water per second, or about 35 Amazon Rivers." The team detected a wave breaking some three miles underneath the surface, producing a huge amount of turbulence and as much as 10,000 times more water mixing than is seen in adjacent waters. This is an important factor in ocean circulation; these waves shuttle heat, energy, carbon, and nutrients about the globe. (Click for another wild undersea discovery.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Scientists Record 800-Foot Undersea Waves is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 15 comments
Joyce Mitchell
May 9, 2015 10:01 AM CDT
Subterranean exploration is in its infancy yet the amazing discoveries made so far are incredible. I was over the moon when I read about this 800ft wave and how it is generated because it goes a long way to proving my theory about the force that drives the World. I have posted a link to this report on my web page I also discovered proof that the Earth does not orbit the Sun, read all about that on . it will change everything we thought we knew about our Planet
Sep 11, 2013 4:45 PM CDT
OK, Laird Hamilton... Try and surf that wave!
Sep 11, 2013 11:19 AM CDT
"This is an important factor in ocean circulation; these waves shuttle heat, energy, carbon, and nutrients about the globe." Another aspect of the complex system that conservatives errantly believe we are too minor to affect.