Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ocean foam- rare phenomenon

These photos of ocean foam were taken in Cape Town in August, 2008. Also called "sea foam" or even "beach foam", the froth on the shoreline forms due to the churning of the water by tides and currents with the impurities, plankton, dead fish, dead plant matter and other organic material floating in the water. The churning of the water from powerful currents creates bubbles which have a tendency to adhere to each other and are pulled under the surface of the water. Closer to shore, as the wave begins to form the bubbles are pushed upward by the energy in the water and can be seen as foam or froth on the beach. Scientists have theorized that if the wind speeds are higher than six meters per second, then the energy transferred from the wind to the water is higher, and the surface tension of the water is not enough to hold the molecules on the surface together. The water breaks up into droplets and adhere together due to surface tension. They then appear as white foamy crests on the waves.
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