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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 6, 2010

CRUISE SHIPS AND BIG WAVES

WIRED - An extra-tall wave struck a cruise ship off the Mediterranean coast of Spain this week, claiming two lives and injuring one person on board. Though the wave may not qualify as a "rogue wave," it could have been created by the same forces.

To officially be rogue, the wave's height must be more than double the "significant wave height" of the area, which is calculated by averaging the height of the tallest third of all the nearby waves.

The wave measured 26 feet tall and shattered plate-glass windows at the bow of the vessel. Still, it wasn't very tall compared to some of the waves oceanographer Libe Washburn of UC Santa Barbara has seen.

"I was surprised it was really that damaged by a 26-foot-high wave," Washburn said. "Twenty-six feet isn't that big.". . .

Waves over 100 feet tall have been spotted by oceanographers, scientists and vessel passengers. The highest wave ever recorded was 112 feet tall, spotted in the Pacific by a U.S. Navy tanker in the 1920s. Now, whenever large ships get lost at sea and never return, many are quick to speculate they were victims of rogue waves.


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