Friday, June 9, 2017

Place where two oceans meet?

A Facebook friend posted the following intriguing video.

It's a striking video depicting two different colors in a large body of water with a definitive separation between the two. The caption says that it's the place "where two oceans meet but do not mix." This of course doesn't make any sense. The ocean is just one large body of water which humans have subdivided into the five oceans for mapping purposes. So what is actually happening in the video?

In actuality, this has nothing to do with two oceans meeting. A little internet searching led me to this article which explains that it is the result of sediment rich water from glacial rivers pouring into the ocean around the Gulf of Alaska. Here's a small excerpt from the article:

"Glacier rivers in the summertime are like buzzsaws eroding away the mountains there," Bruland said. "In the process, they lift up all this material -- they call it glacial flour -- that can be carried out."

Once these glacial rivers pour out into the larger body of water, they're picked up by ocean currents, moving east to west, and begin to circulate there. This is one of the primary methods that iron -- found in the clay and sediment of the glacial runoff -- is transported to iron-deprived regions in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska.

It's also a falsehood that these two types of water don't mix at all, he said.

"They do eventually mix, but you do come across these really strong gradients at these specific moments in time," he said. Such borders are never static, he added, as they move around and disappear altogether, depending on the level of sediment and the whims of the water.

By Ken Bruland
Here's another video capturing the effect

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