Rapid currents in oceans and rivers are constantly changing direction. A vortex is a phenomenon that forms when water moving in two different directions comes into contact with each other and interacts in an abnormal way. They cannot continue to move at the same speed and direction through each other, so they are forced to spin and swirl around each other.
Depending on the mass of the water and the force of the colliding waters, eddies can appear of different sizes. Some whirlpools form and disappear in a short time, while some water systems hold whirlpools for centuries, according to the Niagra Parks website. The larger and more dangerous whirlpools are called maelstroms. These have the power to engulf anyone who gets too close.
Formation of a whirlpool
How to survive a whirlpool
Whirlpools are not as destructive as depicted in novels, such as the whirlpool battle in Pirates of the Caribbean. However, they pose a danger to people and small boats, according to the book. Most people won’t experience the pull of vortex but for many, such as kayakers, it can be helpful to know how to survive.
According to world kayak champion, Ken Whiting, you need to make sure to wear protective gear when in the water, such as a life jacket and helmet. These can protect you from the harsh currents around the whirlpool. If you see any signs of a whirlpool, it’s best not to get into the water.
In the case of entering a whirlpool, you should not move in the same direction as the current and should head towards the outer edge rather than the center. When in a boat or kayak, try to prevent the boat from filling up with water. In some cases, whirlpools can push you out, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
World famous whirlpool
According to World Atlas, in Norway, south of the city of Bodø, a small strait has one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. When Skjerstad Fjord and Salten Fjord link, water can travel at 10 meters per second to create this massive whirlpool that is 32.8 feet (10 meters) wide and 16.4 feet deep ( 5 meters).
Formed in the waters between Deer Island and Moose Island in Canada, the Old Sow is one of the largest whirlpools in the western hemisphere. It can vary in size, ranging in diameter from about 250 feet (76 meters). Usually, several smaller whirlpools surround it.
Located between Tokushima and Hyogo in Japan, the Naruto tidal whirlpool can form up to 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter. Water flows into the narrow Naruto Strait at a rate of 12 mph during spring tides.
Located between two rocks off the west coast of Scotland, this whirlpool is created by the uneven seafloor. Deep craters and basalt peaks increase the speed of water flowing through. It is considered the third largest whirlpool in the world.
In the Norwegian Sea, between the island of Mosken and the southern part of the island of Moskenesøya, lies the second strongest whirlpool in the world. The largest, it is about 49 meters in diameter.
You can read more about the Japanese whirlpool Naruto at the Japan Guide website. Also, to learn about the giant maelstrom Lofoten, visit nature.com.
https://www.livescience.com/whirlpools Whirlpools: Facts, formation and survival tips