Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Wave

Photo: Jamie Brisick

"Plunging breakers are the most impressive. Their principle characteristic is very rapid release of energy from a wave moving at high velocity. There is a sudden deficiency in water ahead of the wave which causes high velocity currents in the trough as the water rushes seaward to fill the cavity beneath the oncoming crest. When there is not enough water to complete the wave form, the water in the crest, attempting to complete it's orbit, is hurled ahead of its steep forward side and lands in the trough. This curling mass of falling water will often entrap air and then, as the upper part of the wave collapses, the air is compressed. When the compressed air finally bursts through the watery cap, a geyser of water is hurled into the air- sometimes over 50 feet."

Willard Bascom, from 'Waves & Beaches: The Dynamics of the Ocean Surface' 1964

No plunging breakers for me this week, but we went and hiked the Devil's Canyon trail in Angeles Crest so I am content.

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