Our Earth is full of astounding places and phenomena. Oceans and seas make up 70% of Earth. They are home to millions of marine life. People believed that there were drowned ships with treasures in the depth of the seas and oceans. One such phenomenon is the whirlpool in lakes. So today, you will get to know about the whirlpool facts, whirlpools in lakes, and how do whirlpools form.
1. What are Whirlpools?
Before reading all about whirlpool in lakes and its facts, let’s understand its definition. Whirlpool is a body of rotating water produced by any obstacle or opposite currents. It is similar to a water tornado. Whirlpools are very common in big water bodies, but they also occur in lakes, rivers, and even at the bottom of a waterfall. The swirl can be dangerous to any human and animal. People reported that there was one giant whirlpool in lakes, which occurred in Lake Texoma in 2015. (See The Mystery of Devils Kettle Waterfall)
It is similar to the rotation when a sink drains clogged water. The circular motion of a smoothie in the smoothie maker is like the whirlpool as well.
2. How do Whirlpools Form?
The water in lakes or any water bodies flows from one direction, but the flow is disturbed by strong winds. So when they meet and touch each other, they start rotating in a circular motion because both the currents try to move in their respective directions, but their movement is diverted by the pressure from the opposite current. So here, a small cavity gets funneled in the center and makes a vortex, and as a result of this push and pull, that spot makes up a Whirlpool. (See Why Do Rainbows Form?)
3. Bottomless Whirlpool in Lakes
These whirlpools are wider at the top and conical at the end, but there is nothing at the bottom. They do not have any secret passage down there. Anything pulled by the force of the rotation is carried to the bottom bed of the water bodies.
4. Drowning in Whirlpools
Although it is impossible to drown in a whirlpool formed in a lake or river, a whirlpool in lakes does not have that much force in them. It depends on the intensity of the current. Expert divers and surfers have the eye to notice a whirlpool from the direction of currents. But sometimes, a whirlpool occurring in the river can also drown a person because the tidal water can flow and swirl in more than one direction, making it powerful. So whirlpool in lakes and rivers can be dangerous. Drowning is more common in seas and oceans. (See Why Ice floats on Water?)
5. Wide Whirlpools
Oceanic whirlpools are known as Eddies, and it is spread across several hundreds of kilometers. A whirlpool in oceans and seas is a common phenomenon. Researchers have discovered that two adjacent whirlpools swirl in opposite directions. Whirlpools can be of a greater width in oceans and seas. Researchers named these types of whirlpools as Mesoscale Eddies, and their width is between 100km to 500km in diameter. (See What is Occupancy Load Calculator?)
6. Durations of Whirlpool
From records, the longest-lasting whirlpool was The Great Whirl. According to the estimates, it lasted for 198 days. The Great Whirl formed about 200 km southwest of the Somali Coast between June and September. (See Shipwrecks In The Ocean)
7. Whirlpools and their Dangers
The small whirlpools do not endanger large ships, but it is better to stay cautious. Swimmers and boats should also be considerate if they are around any whirlpool, irrespective of its size.
- MaelStrom is a whirlpool formed by the twisting and turning of moving water with great force. The force of such whirlpools is such great that they can pull a ship inside or throw it outward with such immense pressure, which may lead to accidents and loss of life and property.
- A swimmer or boat can be overpowered by the direction of the flow of water, resulting in being pulled inside the whirlpool. Humans have limited capacity to hold their breath, and the time it takes for them to reach the bottom of the vortex and then rise again to the surface is longer than it seems. So these kinds of whirlpools are not going to crush or smash a person or thing, the person only dies due to drowning. (See How Did the “Unsinkable” Titanic Sink?)
8. World’s Largest Whirlpool
Tides and waves are affected by the position of the moon. The world’s largest whirlpool takes place at Saltstraumen near Bode, Norway. It is also the strongest whirlpool in the world. Some other largest whirlpools other than whirlpools in lakes are Moskstraumen, Old Sow, Corryvreckan, Skookumchuck, French Pass, and Naruto Whirlpools. (See How Does Hovercraft Work?)
9. Famous Whirlpools
After knowing about whirlpools in lakes, let’s read about some of the famous and powerful whirlpools.
- As mentioned Saltstaumen tops the list of the world’s largest whirlpools and also the strongest maelstrom. It is in the Arctic Circle off the Norway coast. It forms four times per day because tides carry large amounts of water through a small channel. The current’s speed reaches up to 40 km per hour (25 miles). Their diameter is up to 10 m (33 feet) and the depth of about 5 meters (16 feet). Ships passing through usually wait for the time windows between the whirlpools. This maelstrom is a marked tourist attraction.
- Moskstraumen is a system in which a formation of whirlpools is more than one, and it is off the coast of Norway. It holds the second position of the world’s strongest whirlpool. The speed of water currents is up to 32 Km per hour (20 miles). This whirlpool is often used as a plot in stories by Jules Verne and Edgar Allen Poe.
- Corryvreckan secures the third position for itself as the world’s largest whirlpool. It is considered the world’s loudest whirlpool because its noise is heard 16 km (10 miles) away from its point of origin. It occurs in the narrow strait towards the northern side of Corryvreckan or Scotland Gulf.
- Old Sow Whirlpool has occurred near Brunswick in Canada. It is known to make a grunting sound that is audible from a distance. Another one is Naruto Whirlpool, located near the coasts of Japan. The speed of its current reaches up to 26 km per hour (16 miles). The speed of currents is much more than the whirlpool in lakes and reaches up to 18 km per hour (11 miles). The wave height also reaches great heights of almost 30 feet (9 meters). British Navy regarded this whirlpool as very dangerous, and it is known to pull objects and drown them to a depth of 860 feet (262 meters). (See What is a Steamboat?)
10. Term Whirlpool in Different Aspects
- We all heard about home appliances of the brand Whirlpool. The company started manufacturing on 11th November 1911 in Benton Harbor in Michigan, United States.
- The name whirlpool was used metaphorically in three English Language movies released in 1934, 1949, and 1959. The story revolves around a neglected and ignored boy who ends up as a mafia after growing up.
- Another interesting Whirlpool fact is that Hot tubs are often nicknamed whirlpools.
- There is even a galaxy named Whirlpool, which is 24 million light-years away from our Earth. (See 18 Fun Facts About Space)
So you have learned to be careful around the whirlpool in lakes from these whirlpool facts. You also understood how do whirlpools form along with their dangers.