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What causes waves?

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What causes waves? A combination of wind and the shape of the sea-bed causes waves. Wind blows the surface layers of the sea, gradually forming a rolling movement of waves.

As these waves near the coast, the sea-bed interrupts their rolling movement, and they mount up and break onto the beach.

On beaches with a shallow slope, the waves pile up to a great height before breaking, causing surf. Out in the open sea, the waves may be very far apart, but they are closer together as they reach the shore. The highest wave ever recorded was 34 m high, during a hurricane in 1933.

Waves created by tropical storms form huge swells, which are rounded waves capable of travelling for thousands of kilometers, gradually diminishing as they lose their energy and the distance between the waves increases.

They get closer together as they near land and the water become shallower. Waves usually break when the water depth becomes 1.3 times the height of the waves. When storms take place close to shore, waves of enormous height are produced.

Tags: sea, wind, surf

Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 09 December '11

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