We have all at one time gazed out over the ocean and wondered at its majesty and secrets.
The ocean is never silent; whether you’re looking at it from the boat or a beach, you will see waves on the horizon. Know that ocean water does not travel in waves, and it’s not responsible for transmitting energy across the ocean. That said, oceans have waves because the wind causes them. These winds driven by waves are created by the Friction between surface water and wind. And as the wind blows across the surface of the ocean or the lake, the repeated disturbance creates the crest. That is the white foam at the top.
Did you know waves come in a variety of shapes and forms? Waves have their own unique properties and act differently from one another.
THE LARGEST WAVE RECORDED
Since you already know what causes waves, perhaps you want to know the largest and tallest wave recorded?
On July 9, 1958, humans measured about 1,720 feet, or 524m waves hit Lituya Bay, Alaska. It was triggered by an earthquake and recorded as the tallest wave up to this date. It came after a powerful earthquake that measured 8.2 on the Richter scale triggered a landslide of 30 million cubic meters of rock in the bay's inlet.
It hit the water with such force that it generated a humongous wave known as a megatsunami.
The area was sparsely inhabited, but there were reportedly 5 casualties who were on board a boat that was in the path of the megatsunami.
There's one recorded eyewitness account that was made by Bill and Vivian Swanson who were on board their fishing boat when the earthquake struck:
“With the first jolt, I tumbled out of the bunk and looked toward the head of the bay where all the noise was coming from. The mountains were shaking something awful, with a slide of rock and snow, but what I noticed mostly was the glacier, the north glacier, the one they call Lituya Glacier. I know you can’t ordinarily see that glacier from where I was anchored. People shake their heads when I tell them I saw it that night. I can’t help it if they don’t believe me. I know the glacier is hidden by the point when you’re in Anchorage Cove, but I know what I saw that night, too. The glacier had risen in the air and moved forward so it was in sight. It must have risen several hundred feet. I don’t mean it was just hanging in the air. It seems to be solid, but it was jumping and shaking like crazy. Big chunks of ice were falling off the face of it and down into the water. That was six miles away and they still looked like big chunks. They came off the glacier like a big load of rocks spilling out of a dump truck. That went on for a little while—it's hard to tell just how long—and then suddenly the glacier dropped back out of sight and there was a big wall of water going over the point. The wave started for us right after that and I was too busy to tell what else was happening up there.”
Mega Tsunamis are incredibly rare and only occur when a cataclysmic event - such as an asteroid impact or a massive underwater landslide - strikes in an open ocean area.
Did you know how we measure waves? The peakiest part of the wave is the crest, while the deepest part is the trough. The usual distance from the point on one crest or a trough to some point going to the next trough or crest is a wavelength. Therefore, it is believed that waves have similar measures.
Where are the biggest waves in the world normally found? The Agulhas Current, which is off the shore of Durban located in South Africa, is known to experience the biggest waves. Though this place comes with busy shipping areas, waves can still reach more than 100 feet or 30 meters.
What is a rogue wave? Rogue Waves form during storms, and it’s big. It happens without anyone knowing. That’s why sailors look at it like water walls. And no one knows what causes a rogue wave to appear which is why they are so fascinating.
Environmental impact of neverending waves - Waves are so powerful as they can impact the landscape of islands and carve rocky coastlines when it crashes onshore. Storm waves can also move rocks that come in big sizes above high tide lines. It can leave massive boulders on hundreds of islands.
Leading scientists worldwide have determined a healthy ocean is a critical part of the solution to the climate and biodiversity crises.
By supporting 30×30, we can protect our planet’s life support systems – specifically the interconnected issues of the ocean, climate, and biodiversity. Currently, less than 17% of land and 8% of the ocean worldwide is protected.
The good news is, due to the efforts of the growing global 30×30 movement, including those involved in the World Ocean Day network, more than 90 countries have already committed to protecting at least 30% of their land and ocean by 2030.
With your help, and by working with youth and organisational leaders worldwide, together we will continue to grow the global movement to protect at least 30% of our blue planet by 2030 and safeguard our future.
Sign the petition for climate action here and join hands this World Ocean Day.