The EarthView team could almost use a canoe to reach Somerset Middle School, one of several schools we are visiting for the first time ever as this school year ends. In fact, we are making our first and second appearances at Somerset Middle School.
Somerset is located at the mouth of the Taunton River -- designated a United States Wild & Scenic River -- where it reaches the sea. Bridgewater is located where the Taunton River begins, at the confluence of the Town and Nemasket Rivers. Very close to the Bridgewater State University Campus is a place called Town River Landing, designed by local people and state officials specifically for boat trips down the Taunton River. But such an adventure would take all day, so EarthView is arriving as it usually does, by car.
During our visits we try to point out highlights from recent news about geography, and we recently learned about an interesting observation that was made in a place we talk about quite often in EarthView: the Southern Ocean.
This is the world's "newest" ocean, designated in the year 2000 to refer to the southernmost portions of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. All of the other oceans are defined by the geology of the ocean floors, but the Souther Ocean is defined by surface winds and currents, which are quite important. As described in the How Many Oceans article from NOAA, most authorities agree that the Southern Ocean includes all of the waters poleward of 60°S. The article mentions that not all authorities agree, and this week's story suggests that New Zealand is one of them.
The story is this: scientists in New Zealand recently measured the largest wave ever recorded. Shortly after installing a buoy specifically to measure waves in this very active ocean, it was moved by a single wave 64 feet tall! For comparison, EarthView is 20 feet tall. Imagine being in a boat that is picked up by a wave three times that high!
|Image: Stock image of a boat in rough seas from the article about this wave. The real wave was not photographed, and would have been MUCH bigger than this.|
The story is told in Awesome Ocean and on the web site of Met Ocean, which made the discovery. The web site also has a page for live monitoring of the buoy, which is located between New Zealand and Antarctica, 11 kilometers south of Campbell Island.
This means that the buoy is at about 52°40' S, or several hundred miles north of what most people consider the boundary of the Southern Ocean. In EarthView, the more common boundary is easy to spot: it corresponds to the edge of the dark-blue area we are able to walk on inside.
When you are inside EarthView, try to think about the locational factors that could make such a record-setting wave possible near Cambbell's Island.