Oceans occupy most of the world’s available space with over 70 percent of the world covered by oceans. The ocean provides a scenic view and a place to recreate for many people around the world. The oceans and the seas have been associated with various mysteries and phenomenon that continue to be a puzzle to many people and researchers as they try to solve them. This paper explores some of the mysteries and phenomenon found in the oceans and the sea.
One of the most known ocean phenomenon is the maelstrom. This is a strong and powerful whirlpool caused by tides. Maelstroms are so powerful that they are capable of pulling or ‘sucking’ objects from the surface of the oceans such as boats and ships making them very dangerous and fearful. Although a maelstrom has a strong downdraft power, its power is always exaggerated. One of the widely known maelstroms is the Bermuda triangle which is believed to have ‘swallowed’ numerous number of sea motors with no trace. There are different explanations to this phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle with an explanation that the presence of methane could be the main cause of the phenomenon. In most cases, it is very unlikely that a maelstrom without the aid of other powerful natural occurrences such as tsunamis can be a threat to large ships. However, maelstroms are surely a threat to smaller crafts and boats. The strongest maelstrom in the world is known as Saltstraumen which is located thirty kilometers east of Bodo town in Norway (Ophaug, Breili and Gerlach, 2015).
The other ocean phenomenon is the bioluminescences which are very attractive. Bioluminescences mostly appear at night. During the night, if one is at the right place at the right place, it is possible for one to see beach water glow or scintillate with what appears to be blue colored lights. Bioluminescence occurs due to the contact of various chemicals found in some oceanic organisms with the surface oxygen. This triggers a reaction in the organisms leading to the dazzling lights in the ocean. The chemical reaction mostly entails a pigment referred to as luciferin which produces a light. Bioluminescence happens mostly in marine vertebrates as well as invertebrates. Some of the oceanic organisms that are synonymous with bioluminescence are lanternfish, mauve stinger or glowing jelly fish, dragonfish, Syllid fireworms, among others (Davis et al, 2014). These organisms produce these lights for different reasons such as to attract mates, for protection and attraction of other animals for food.
Water spouts are other forms of oceanic phenomenon. Raju et al (2013) defines a water spout as a funnel that consists of an intense vortex, mostly destructive in nature, of tiny horizontal extent that happens on the surface of the ocean. It is funnel shaped just like a land tornado. A water sprout is less powerful than a land tornado and occurs in tropics as well as subtropical zones. Water sprouts have five main stages namely; the formation where a dark spot is formed on the water surface. The second stage involves formation of a spiral pattern on the surface of the water. Third stage involves the development of the spray ring which is closely associated with the fourth stage which is formation of a funnel like condensation. The last stage is decaying of the sprout. Water sprouts are common near Florida and the coastal areas of Australia and New Zealand.
The convergence of seas forms one of the magnificent phenomenons in nature and in the oceans. A good example is the convergence of Skagerrak Sea and Kattegat Sea. The waters from the two seas come into direct contact but they do not mix as is the expectation. A look at the area where the two seas converge clearly shows that the two seas do not mix. This phenomenon is as a result of different salinity levels in the two seas (Stanev, Lu and Grashorn, 2015). This indicates that water from the two seas have different densities making it hard for pure mixing. In addition, the area where the convergence takes place is also very shallow thereby impeding on direct contact. However, there is less mixing of the waters but it cannot be visible by a person on the surface of the sea. There is a pure line that separates waters from the two seas.
Dead Sea is another phenomenon that poses as a puzzle to many in the world. The Dead Sea is in the Middle East in the boundaries of Jordan, Israel and Palestine stretching for fifty kilometers and fifteen kilometers wide. The Dead Sea is the most salty sea in the world with a salinity of 34.2 percent. Taylor (2015) says that the Dead Sea is 9.6 times more salty than the waters in the oceans and, as such, it is among the saltiest water bodies in the world. Due to the high salt levels, it is hard for any organism to survive in the Dead Sea; therefore, there are no animals or plants in the sea. The Dead Sea attracts many tourists since swimming in the salty water is equivalent to floating. The high salinity of the Dead Sea waters makes it easy for people to float on the water compounded by the high density of the late which is ten times higher than that of other salty lakes. There have been numerous studies to identify why there are no lives in the sea and scientists have concluded that the high salinity makes it hard for any form of life to thrive in the sea. Similarly, Dead Sea water doe not freeze due to the high levels of salinity.
In summary, the oceans are beautiful and present some of the hardest puzzles in the world. This paper looks at some of the phenomenon found in the ocean and what makes them unique. Although there are many phenomenal aspects of the sea, the paper delves into maelstroms, bioluminescence organisms in the ocean and seas, water sprouts, convergence of seas with different salinity and densities and the Dead Sea.
- Ophaug, V., Breili, K., & Gerlach, C. (2015). A comparative assessment of coastal mean dynamic topography in Norway by geodetic and ocean approaches. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120(12), 7807-7826.
- Davis, M. P., Holcroft, N. I., Wiley, E. O., Sparks, J. S., & Smith, W. L. (2014). Species-specific bioluminescence facilitates speciation in the deep sea. Marine biology, 161(5), 1139-1148.
- Raju, C. S., Renju, R., Antony, T., Mathew, N., & Moorthy, K. K. (2013). Microwave radiometric observation of a waterspout over coastal Arabian Sea. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 10(5), 1075-1079.
- Stanev, E. V., Lu, X., & Grashorn, S. (2015). Physical processes in the transition zone between North Sea and Baltic Sea. Numerical simulations and observations. Ocean Modelling, 93(2), 56-74.
- Taylor, J. E. (2015). The Essenes, the scrolls, and the Dead Sea. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.