Anyone who has spent time on a beach can visualize rolling waves, breaking as they approach the shoreline. What most probably don’t realize, is the same thing happens out of sight, deep under the ocean surface – but on a massive scale.Download Audio:Picture this: a giant wave, close to 1,000 feet tall, spanning more than 50 miles – that is the scale we’re talking about, and it’s happening thousands of feet underwater.“If you’ve ever seen the office toys that have a layer of blue fluid and a layer of clear fluid, and you can rock them back and forth and see these very slow-moving undulations,” Harper Simmons, an associate professor of oceanography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said. “That is exactly the phenomena we’re talking about.”He’s been studying these massive, undersea waves for over a decade.Since 2007, Simmons has been taking part in a study in the South China Sea, with researchers from 25 institutions from five countries, taking a closer look at how these waves work.Even though the movement of these waves appear similar to a waves on the surface, he says there are some differences.“They move at approximately three meters per second, whereas a surface wave might move at 10 or 20 times that rate,” Simmons said. “So they’re massive waves; they contain huge amounts of energy, but they evolve in slow motion relative to what we would see at the surface.”Simulation of internal waves of the South China Sea by Dr. Harper Simmons of the University of Alaska Fairbanks using Arctic Region Supercomputer Center (ARSC) High Performance Computing resources. Visualization by the University of Washington Center for Environmental Visualization (CEV).But why are these waves so important?Big waves create big turbulence, and Simmons says that’s what makes them vital.“And anywhere you can have strong turbulence, you can bring up fresh nutrients from depth,” he said. “And, so these waves have profound effects on ecosystems.”By redistributing the deep-sea nutrients closer to the surface, the waves help replenish the shallower parts of the ocean where much of the biological activity takes place.Undersea waves require ocean stratification in order to form – meaning layers of water, defined by differences in salinity and temperature. If stratification exists, Simmons says the other primary ingredient is usually tidal action moving over submarine ridges, islands, and other types of underwater topography, which means these waves are forming all over the world – including Alaska.“A place like Prince William Sound, a fjord, is highly stratified and there’s very significant tides,” Simmons said. “So we expect that the larger fjords, such as Prince William Sound, would be absolutely filled with these things.”Not much research has been done on Alaska’s sub-surface waves, but Simmons says researchers do know they form in the Arctic Ocean – albeit in a weaker form.“One of the main energy sources for these are from storms in the Arctic,” Simmons said. “And the ice kind of an insulating barrier to prevent that kind of energy from being put into the ocean.”Simmons says researchers are interested to see if the Arctic dynamic changes as the area continues seeing reduced sea ice, seasonally.The study of internal waves in the South China Sea was summarized in an article published in the May 7th issue of Nature.
No related posts. NEMOCÓN, Colombia – At the bottom of a dank salt mine in Colombia, a 200-strong film crew featuring Spanish actor Antonio Banderas is reconstructing the incredible tale of 33 miners buried alive for 69 days in Chile in 2010.Actors from multiple countries work in suffocating heat on “The 33,” which traces the unlikely survival of the men trapped deep underground after a collapse at the San José copper mine in the Atacama desert.“It’s not just about the physical ordeal these 33 men went through – it’s about the emotional one, of wondering if they would live or die, or if they would go crazy waiting to find out,” Gregg Brilliant, a spokesman for the U.S. film production, told AFP.To depict the incredible story that unfolded more than 600 meters (1,970 feet) underground, the production team chose to film at two sites outside the Colombian capital, Bogotá.Behind a security cordon, curious onlookers try to catch a glimpse of a star, but their Hollywood hopes are repeatedly dashed.In the salt mines of Nemocón, the humid and musty environment combine with the thin mountain air to recreate the oppressive atmosphere at San José, located 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Chile’s capital, Santiago.The film recounts the story of the mine accident and how all 33 men – 32 Chileans and a Bolivian – eventually escaped in a spectacular rescue operation watched around the world.Banderas, 53, will play Mario Sepulveda, the charismatic de facto leader of the group.French actress Juliette Binoche, who replaced Jennifer López in the cast, and U.S. actors Martin Sheen and James Brolin also star in the film.Under the guidance of Mexican-born U.S. director Patricia Riggen, the actors sweat profusely, keeping make-up artists hard at work before each take.“The ambiance is real. You don’t have to act so much,” said Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays Luis Urzua, the mining team’s shift leader nicknamed “Don Lucho” who organized the men’s food supply during their ordeal.Hard to show weight loss on screenProducers relied heavily on a vast trove of data about the incident, including the miners’ medical reports, to make the film as authentic as possible.Depicting the weight loss of the miners, who survived on tins of tuna and small sips of milk, proved a major obstacle.Head of makeup Ana Lozano said that recreating the miners’ emaciated look was her most complicated task. Despite dieting, none of the actors were able to lose as much weight as the men they portrayed.The film crew played with light and shadow effects to mark the outline of the miners’ ribs and experimented with small prosthetic devices to accentuate their eyes.Latex was used to simulate the redness and peeling of their skin.After filming wraps in Colombia, the team will head in early 2014 to the Atacama desert, Brilliant said.Binoche will make her debut on set in the desert as Dario Segovia’s sister, who organized a makeshift village near the mine where family and media gathered to await news of the miners.“The film isn’t just about the event itself – it’s about the people, both above and below ground, who held onto their love and their hope to pull them through what seemed like an impossible rescue,” said Brilliant.The movie, however, will not recount the story’s real-life ending, which is less joyous.The men’s fame neither lasted nor brought them the fortune for which they had once hoped.“We are like a big family, but with each going his own way,” Urzua, the real “Don Lucho”, told AFP from Chile. Facebook Comments