Ocean Foam

Posted on August 28, 2007  Comments (2)

Cappuccino Coast: The day the Pacific was whipped up into an ocean of froth

One minute a group of teenage surfers were waiting to catch a wave, the next they were swallowed up in a giant bubble bath. The foam was so light that they could puff it out of their hands and watch it float away. It stretched for 30 miles out into the Pacific in a phenomenon not seen at the beach for more than three decades.

Scientists explain that the foam is created by impurities in the ocean, such as salts, chemicals, dead plants, decomposed fish and excretions from seaweed. All are churned up together by powerful currents which cause the water to form bubbles. These bubbles stick to each other as they are carried below the surface by the current towards the shore.

As a wave starts to form on the surface, the motion of the water causes the bubbles to swirl upwards and, massed together, they become foam.

As for 12-year-old beachgoer Tom Woods, who has been surfing since he was two, riding a wave was out of the question. “Me and my mates just spent the afternoon leaping about in that stuff,” he said. “It was quite cool to touch and it was really weird. It was like clouds of air – you could hardly feel it.”

2 Responses to “Ocean Foam”

  1. Mathew
    August 29th, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

    That looks ridiculously fun, doesn’t it?

  2. Desiree
    September 11th, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    ????Swimming in frothed whale poop is not any type of fun. Having a saltwater aquarium, and knowing what that foam is makes me sick to think people were playing in it. vomit.

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