Beautiful But Dangerous: Grid Waves on the French Coast

This unlikely photo shows a phenomenon called cross sea, and it’s basically the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. The thing is, as beautiful as it might look from above, you wouldn’t want to get caught in a wave system like this. It can be among the most dangerous ocean hazards.

 In surface navigation, a cross sea is a sea state with two wave systems traveling at oblique angles.

Waves generated by the new wind run at an angle to the old, creating a shifting, dangerous pattern.

Until the older waves have dissipated, they create a sea hazard among the most perilous.

This phenomenon may be dangerous (boats are meant to hit waves head on, not from all sides), but at the same time it’s also one of the most beautiful naturally occurring shapes. I could stare at that first photo for hours!

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