There’s nothing more peaceful than walking on the beach…right? This bodacious beach babe got more than she bargained for when she stopped to pose for a photo on Laguna Beach.
Wipeout! This poor beach goer didn’t even know what hit her. In her defense, waves can sneak up on you sometimes. They sometimes even seem like they have a mind of their own! But what actually causes waves?
Ocean waves can be created by several different natural phenomenon. First, there are wind waves or surface waves, like the one that knocked the woman in the video off her feet. These waves occur from friction between the air and the surface of the water. As wind blows across the top of the ocean, it displaces water, pushing it in front of it like snow gathering in front of a plough truck.
Another kind of wave is a storm surge. This happens when low pressure systems from storms push large amounts of water — think of it as surface waves on steroids. These waves can be pushed with great force deep inland before receding when the storm has passed.
Then there are tsunamis. These destructive walls of water happen when a large volume of water is displaced by an earthquake, landslide or eruption. These surges of rising water creep quickly up the shore like a flood and cause incredible devastation.
Some people mistakenly call tsunamis tidal waves, but a tidal wave actually refers to the difference between high and low tide caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. What people are really thinking of when they say tidal wave is more like a rogue wave, a massive and unexpectedly large type of surface wave. Rogue waves happen for a variety of reasons including severe winds, smaller waves merging, unusual currents etc. They can appear from nowhere and be 10s to 100s of feet tall. Even the sturdiest ocean vessels can be taken by surprise by this kind of wave, just like the woman caught off-guard by the fairly small surface wave in the video.
Have you had an encounter with a wave that was funny, scary or interesting? Share it with us in the comments!