In November 2020, strange waves suddenly appeared and lifted a lone buoy 17.6 meters (58 feet) off the coast of British Columbia. The four-story wall of water is recognized as the most powerful killer wave ever recorded.
4-Story Tall Rogue Wave
The rogue wave was discovered on November 17, 2020, by a marine buoy operated by Canadian research firm Marine Labs, approximately 7 km off Yucuretto on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
According to LiveScience, in a new study published online in Scientific Reports on February 2, scientists say that the Yucuret wave is about 58 feet (17.6 meters) high, about three times the height of the surrounding waves discovered. Researchers said in a statement that a rogue wave, much larger than the surrounding waves, was a “once a thousand years” event.
For centuries, rogue waves were considered nothing but nautical folklore. It wasn’t till 1995 that the myth became fact. On the primary day of the New Year, a closely 26-meter high wave (85 feet) suddenly affected an oil-drilling platform roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the coast of Norway, as per Sciencealert.
At the time, the alleged Draupner wave defied all previous models scientists had placed together. Since then, dozens of additional rogue waves have been recorded (some even in lakes), and whereas the one that surfaced near Ucluelet, Vancouver Island wasn’t the tallest, its relative size compared to the waves around it was unprecedented.
Read more: Tsunami Alert Raised as Underwater Volcanic Eruptions Sent Giant Waves to Tonga
(Photo : MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), rogue waves are enormous “walls of water” that form and dissipate within the open ocean, they’re different from tsunamis, which are caused by displaced water from underwater earthquakes, landslides, or volcanic eruptions and don’t become massive till they are close to the coast.
A rogue wave is scientifically defined as being at least double as high as the surrounding ocean state – the average height of the waves for a given space at a given time.
Researchers assume that rogue waves are formed when smaller waves merge into larger ones, either because of high surface winds or changes in ocean currents caused by storms, according to NOAA. However, the precise mechanisms behind the freakish crests are still one thing of a mystery.
Physicist Johannes Gemmrich from the University of Victoria stated: “Proportionally, the Ucluelet wave is likely the most extreme rogue wave ever recorded, only a few rogue waves in high sea states have been observed directly, and nothing of this magnitude.”
Rogue waves are still a mystery to researchers
Even today, researchers are trying to figure out how fraudulent waves are formed, so they can more accurately predict when they will occur. This includes measuring rogue waves in real-time and running the model along the path when exposed to the wind. The buoys that picked up the waves of
Ucluelet was placed offshore along with dozens of other buoys by a laboratory called Marine Labs to learn more about the dangers.
Anomalous waves can destroy marine operations, wind farms, or oil platforms even if they occur far offshore. If they are big enough, they can even endanger the lives of those who go to the beach.
Also read: 19-Meter Non-Tsunami Wave Recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean
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