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Rare footage of square waves that are so dangerous you should get out of sea immediately

Emily Brown

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Rare footage of square waves that are so dangerous you should get out of sea immediately

A cameraman has managed to capture footage of rare and incredibly dangerous square waves moving through the ocean.

We've all seen a wave, right? A kind of rounded shape of water that moves in a line along the water and crests before curling in on itself and crashing back into the sea?

Okay, I don't need to explain waves to you, but I just wanted to make clear that waves are absolutely not typically square. And yet, that doesn't mean they can't be:

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Given that we usually see waves moving towards the shore, it's hard to imagine them moving at the perpendicular angles required to make a square. But this does happen, and from above it can look like there's a grid underneath the water causing the strange formation.

In reality, the waves result from the intersection of two seas when weather patterns in the region causes the waves to form at different angles.

They are also known as cross sea or grid waves, and can be extremely dangerous. You might be intrigued by the bizarre patterns, but they are actually usually associated with strong and localised rip tides.

Square waves can reach 10 feet (three meters) in height and can appear and disappear within minutes, meaning you should evacuate the water if you ever spot them.

The cross waves have caused shipwrecks. Credit: Razvan Fiat/YouTube
The cross waves have caused shipwrecks. Credit: Razvan Fiat/YouTube

Cross swells are so strong that they can cause boating accidents and shipwrecks, with the bigger waves definitely proving too strong to swim out of, no matter how strong of a swimmer you may be.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), square waves were responsible for a large percentage of ship accidents from 1995 to 1999, though Surfers Hype argues the square waves that reach the shoreline 'have much-diminished power and are not as scary or as dangerous as everyone thinks'.

However, the site adds: "Still, always be careful in the ocean and do not surf in waves if you feel you might be out of your depth."

Swimmers are advised to get out of the water amid cross waves. Credit: Razvan Fiat/YouTube
Swimmers are advised to get out of the water amid cross waves. Credit: Razvan Fiat/YouTube

Footage shared by YouTuber Razvan Fiat shows the waves in action while the person behind the camera looked on from the safety of the shore.

The water can be seen creating waves from two different angles before crashing back into the larger body of water.

Cross waves can be found across the globe, though the most famous place in the world for spotting them is Île de Ré - or Isle of Ré - in France.

Featured Image Credit: Razvan Fiat/YouTube

Topics: Science, YouTube

Emily Brown
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