If you’ve never heard of square waves or seen them before and you’d like an explanation, you’ve come to the right place. A square wave is a thing of beauty because it’s quite rare, however, they are also highly dangerous. In the popular tourist destination of Isle of Rhe in France, square waves exist demonstrating the force of nature.
Unlike normal waves with regular wave patterns, these waves form a strange pattern because of their movement. They appear grid-like and square making the surface of the ocean look like a chessboard around the small strip of land. The pattern is so mesmerizing that tourists travel from around the world to the lighthouse in order to catch sight of the waves at the highest elevation.
There’s a specific and scientific reason as to why this occurs, and specifically, why it occurs in this part of the ocean. That’s because the two seas meet in the area where the strange wave pattern occurs. The merging of these waters creates what is called a cross sea.
As these two seas intersect and collide, they create different weather patterns. This weather pattern, in turn, creates different wave patterns. Over time, the collision of the waves causes squares to form in the water making a sight-seeing delight for those who have never seen square waves.
Though they are beautiful to behold, the cross is an incredibly dangerous section of the ocean given that the riptide is stronger than the average person has come across. If you find yourself within the cross sea, it could be catastrophic. Like this person pictured in the image below.
However, the weather doesn’t always affect the ocean in this manner so the cross-sea isn’t always present. In fact, the waters of the Isle are normally deemed safe for the tourists visiting the resort town.
It is a great reminder, however, of the beauty and sheer power of nature. Though we hope you never find yourself in the midst of a cross-sea, it’s definitely a bucket list must-see attraction.
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