August 22, 2013
Satellites have shown two mysterious ‘black hole’ whirlpools in the South Atlantic ocean – ultra powerful “vortexes” which suck water down into the depths.
The whirlpools – never witnessed before – would suck down ships, debris and even living creatures, moving 1.3 million cubic metres of water per second.
Two of the black holes – or “maelstroms” – have been sighted in three months by physicists from Zurich and Miami. The powerful vortices of current have been described as ‘maelstroms’ and are ‘mathematical analogues’ for black holes – which is to say they do exactly the same with water that black holes. The discovery could give new insights into how oceanic currents transport debris and may even have implications for climate change studies. Astronomical black holes bend space and time into a perpetually collapsing vortex. Light itself bends around them, which enables astronomers to recognise their existence.
Similarly, these oceanic maelstroms funnel current into an almost permanent spiral, trapping debris, oil and potentially living creatures in a body of water. Hardly anything leaks out. The scientists used Edgar Allen Poe’s 1841 story ‘A descent into a Maelstrom’ to describe their discovery: “The edge of the whirl was represented by a broad belt of gleaming spray; but no particle of this slipped into the mouth of the terrific funnel…” More
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