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Maine's Freak Waves Have Experts Stumped

Specialists guess at what caused 'mini-tsunami'
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2008 2:19 PM CST
Maine's Freak Waves Have Experts Stumped
This aerial view shows three of Maine's windjammer ships as they reach Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The harbor was hit with freak waves last week that weather specialists have been unable to explain.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

(Newser) – Researchers are perplexed about Maine’s “waves of biblical proportion” that had residents fearing the apocalypse last week, the Boston Globe reports. Just before low tide, New England harbors were flooded with 12 feet of water, which then receded in massive whirlpools, repeating three times in 15 minutes. The occurrence—similar to a 1992 Florida storm—is so unusual it is nameless.

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Specialists guess the waves could have been caused by a powerful storm squall that carried in the water, or the slumping of underwater mountains – which would prompt a mini-tsunami not uncommon in the Atlantic Ocean. But there was no seismic activity to predict the onrush, which ripped apart docks, split wooden pilings, and scared seaside diners speechless.  
(Read more storm stories.)

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