How dangerous are whirlpools?

September 26, 2018
What are whirlpools? A whirlpool is a body of swirling water formed when two opposing currents meet. Ideal conditions for its formation is wherever water is flowing, from creeks and streams to rivers and seas. A vortex is a whirlpool that contains a downdraft – which can suck objects below the water’s surface. Formation of whirlpools could also be at the base of waterfalls and artificial structures such as dams.
Mechanism of a whirlpool. Whirlpools try to draw objects to the bottom of the sea bed and move them along the sea bed by ocean currents. Floatable objects may come back to the surface again but a long way from the location of whirlpool.

Why whirlpools are so dangerous to us? Depending on their intensity, whirlpools are capable of sucking swimmers and small scale boats below water surface, causing drowning.Captain Matthew Webb,first man ever to swim across the English Channel, was drowned in a whirlpool when he was swimming across gorge below Niagara Falls. Some history reports suggest that even large scale bodies can be trapped by a whirlpool, e.g. Charybdis of the Greeks.
Most Dangerous Whirlpools

1. Gulf of Corryvreckan: Located in Scotland, it is the third largest whirlpool in the world. Waves in this region can reach 9 meters in height, and can travel at a speed of18 kilometres per hour. It can be heard nearly 16 kilometres away, making it the loudest one in the world.

2. Saltstraumen: Located off the coast of Norway near the Arctic Circle, it is considered as the strongest maelstrom in the world. It is formed four times a day with currents speed reaching up to 40 kilometres per hour. It draws thousands of tourists every year to the city of Bodø during high tide.

3. Niagara Falls Whirlpool: Niagara falls are one of the biggest waterfalls in the world, and the whirlpools that are formed underneath them due to the powerful currents colliding are some of the most dangerous of the world.

Video of Strong Current (Whirlpool) in San Francisco - 

Post Written By - Bahana Saikia

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