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We all know what waves look like from the top, they are pretty cool to watch for hours on end. But have you ever had a close look at a wave from the bottom? The beauty of these "rib vortices" forming under a wave will blow your mind

We have tried to find a simple, layman's, explanation for this phenomena but battled. This phenomena is called 'rib vortices' because of their rib like structure around the breaking wave. The big roller-like structure around which the ribs form, is a breaking wave. A breaking wave forms when the amplitude of a surface wave becomes so high that the difference of wind forcing causes the tip of the wave to overturn and plunge forward. This overturning induces a vorticity to the entire structure. In past research on surface waves, various papers have called these structures as rollers. Rib vortices are secondary structures that form along the periphery of these rollers. It's complicated, but if you want a full scientific explanation, read this article.  

In the mean time, we opted to just enjoy the eye candy - These images are simply incredible :) 

wave vortex

Photo: Zak Noyle

wave-vortex

Photo: Clarke Little

rib-vortex

Photo: Gordon Becker

 

 

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