It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
They are the stuff of legend and maritime myth: giant waves, taller than tower-blocks, that rise out of calm seas and destroy everything in their paths.
For years scientists and marine experts have dismissed such stories as superstition. Walls of water do not rise out of the blue, they said. But now research has revealed that 'killer waves' do exist and regularly devastate ships around the world. They defy all scientific understanding and no craft is capable of withstanding their impact.
'Rogue waves in the past have been ignored and regarded as rare events,' said Jim Gunson, the Met Office's expert on ocean waves. 'Now we are finally getting a handle on them and finding out how common they are.'
These mammoth events are not tidal waves or tsunamis, however. Nor are they caused by earthquakes or landslides. They are single, massive walls of water that rise up - for no known reason - and destroy dozens of ships and oil rigs every year.
The story of the super-tanker M�nchen is a classic example. She was one of the biggest ships ever built - the length of two-and-a-half football pitches - and unsinkable, it was claimed.
But on 7 December, 1978, the pride of the German merchant navy, en route to America, disappeared off the face of the earth. Despite the biggest search in the history of shipping, all that was found of the M�nchen and her 26 crew was a lifeboat that had suffered an incredible battering.
'Something extraordinary' had destroyed the ship, concluded an official inquiry, which dismissed the M�nchen's sinking as a highly unusual event that had no implications for other forms of shipping.
Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freakish ocean waves that rise as tall as ten-storey apartment blocks have been accepted as a leading cause of large ship sinkings. Results from ESA's ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of these 'rogue' waves and are now being used to study their origins.
Severe weather has sunk more than 200 supertankers and container ships exceeding 200 metres in length during the last two decades. Rogue waves are believed to be the major cause in many such cases.
Objective radar evidence from this and other platforms – radar data from the North Sea's Goma oilfield recorded 466 rogue wave encounters in 12 years - helped convert previously sceptical scientists, whose statistics showed such large deviations from the surrounding sea state should occur only once every 10000 years.
THE WHOLE ARTICLE
Severe weather has sunk more than 200 supertankers and container ships exceeding 200 metres in length during the last two decades.
Originally posted by Hellmutt
I wonder what caused the freak wave... A comet fragment?