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Giant Ocean Vortex Discovered

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the holy-overstatement-batman dept.

141

Darkman, Walkin Dude writes "Dubbed a "death trap" by a team of scientists from The University of Western Australia Murdoch University, CSIRO and three American, French and Spanish research institutions, a 200km in diameter and 1000m deep ocean vortex has been discovered off the Rottnest Canyon. Visible from space, scientists claim is has the potential to affect the local climate and the climate further abroad, the vortex is acting as a "death trap" by sucking in fish larvae from closer to the shore."

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141 comments

As seen from space.... (5, Funny)

GregStevensLA (976873) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476725)

I hear this is how Jupiter's Red Spot got started.....

Re:As seen from space.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476749)

fedora core spins off
ocean spins off
who's next ?

Re:As seen from space.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15478166)

Well, Microsoft of course!

First they acquire the Moon, market it as "A Leading Planet" (never mind that it isn't, it is a satellite),

Then they try to bundle it with DDR toting its appeal as "The Ultimate in Musical Dance Gaming Experience," emphasizing the thrill of playing in one-sixth of Earth's gravity.

Next they realize that sound doesn't travel very well in a vacuum and that space-suits present too much of a limitation to the more advanced moves, promise they will fix these problems with an Atmosphere upgrade to the Moon in the forthcoming Service Pack 1 (after they make up their mind whether either increasing the Moon's mass or encasing it within a gigantic Geodetic Dome trapping the atmosphere inside is a feasible solution).

Then the Anti-Trust Committee rules that Microsoft has in fact become a monopoly in the exploitation of non-man-made Earth-orbiting satellites (since we've only got 1) and requires Microsoft to restructure its operations.

Next, Microsoft decides to spin-off its Moon operations (and leave them to the Martians) and returns finally to making good on its promise of realizing the ultimate golf course (in the Sahara Desert) it has been promising us since the Windows XP default desktop...

And so the Moon spins off, drifting into the sun(-set?) while people hope it will one time slingshot back again, maybe to play a game of pool with Pluto...

Re:As seen from space.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476780)

How can they say something like 'visible from space', and not show the image.

Re:As seen from space.... (2, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476924)

They said "visible from space", not "visible from the internet".

I know. Why bother even posting an internet article these days and not include a picture?

Re:As seen from space.... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478072)

Once advertising became popular, crappy news websites found that they didn't actually have any room to show pictures - which in a lot of science stories like this one, makes it almost useless. What a joke. This story just screams pictures.

Re:As seen from space.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477394)

This is the area, take your pick. [csiro.au]

That yellow dot/circle in the middle on the the left panel is Perth, Rottnest island is just a scosh to the left, so Rottnest canyon cant be too far.

Re:As seen from space.... (4, Informative)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477820)

The canyon is west of Rottwell Island, which is just west of Perth, which is just north of the SW corner of Australia.

However, the "death trap" viewpoint is somewhat different from this one [uwa.edu.au]:

"The canyon begins at a depth of 50 metres and falls to 5,000, making it one of the worlds largest submarine canyons. It is a fascinating area that annually attracts pygmy blue whales, drawn by an abundance of krill. During summer, as many as 20 whales may be found at one time at this site. The whales eat up to 10 tonnes of krill a day and we want to find out whether there is a correlation between the presence of the canyon and the physical oceanography and the biological productivity of krill."

RIAA (4, Funny)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476752)

Let see, lots of hot air and small fish going down the drain, yep that's it.

Can't be a RIAA production (4, Funny)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477152)

This is a huge suck-job, which is actually doing something meaningful. If it were a RIAA product, it would be being advertized everywhere, as the "THE GREATEST ORGIASTIC SWINGING EXPERIENCE OF ALL TIME," and would be turn out to be just another hand-job, and ... bring your own hand.

Back to topic, a little Googling failed to turn up more detailed data, even at the research institution sponsoring the study, the University of Western Australia Murdoch University, see here [murdoch.edu.au]. I did come across the images of something else of interest on Rottnest Island, the quokka [wikipedia.org], which is not only more dignified and intelligent than the typical RIAA-oid, but a lot cuter, too.

Re:RIAA (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477743)

Sounds like something out of a H2G2 computer game :D

Didn't a (babel) fish disappear into a hole in the wall at one point?

Aw shucks (4, Informative)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476757)

It's NOT a kilometer-deep whirlpool, sucking ships down to crash on the rocks below. It's just some circulating water.

Re:Aw shucks (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476836)

But it has horrible mutated flying fish!11

Who knows what other horrors are in there!

Re:Aw shucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477474)

I bet when your ship gets sucked down there, you end up finding the lost continent so you can defeat Exodus.

Re:Aw shucks (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477550)

It's NOT a kilometer-deep whirlpool, sucking ships down to crash on the rocks below. It's just some circulating water.
You're right, it's a 1000 meters deep.

1,000 meters deep = 3,280 feet
200 kilometers wide = 124 miles

What's dissapointing is that TFA doesn't say why this phenomenon has formed. 124 miles across isn't chump change

Re:Aw shucks (1)

tf23 (27474) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478469)

What's dissapointing is that TFA doesn't say why this phenomenon has formed.

From the article...

Dr Waite said the vortex, shaped like a giant child's spinning top, was created by current movement down the coast and is one of the largest ever found off of WA.

The Malestrom? (2, Interesting)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476758)

Holy Edgar Allen Poe, Batman!

http://www.online-literature.com/poe/26/ [online-literature.com]

 

Re:The Malestrom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477053)

IMHO, that is one of his worst stories. See his collected works [amazon.com] and you'll see that he was capable of much more. His efforts in verse are especially admirable.

Re:The Maelstrom? (3, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477214)

Holy Edgar Allen Poe, Batman!

*approaches podium*
And the award to the most ludicrous phrase adaptation goes to...

Re:The Maelstrom? (2, Funny)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478644)

You're just jealous because you didn't think of it first.

Although, I am grateful and appreciative of your subtlty in correcting my spelling of "maelstrom."

and for the sum of 1 million dollars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476797)

your climate will be spared. :D

Satellite Image (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476807)

Google maps sidebar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477011)

Does anyone know of a way to get rid of the google maps sidebar permanently?

Re:Satellite Image (3, Funny)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477410)

This vortex is obviously due to the large numbers of GOOGLE watermarks floating around... I mean, when you zoom in close you can see them all over the place.... and the ocean artifacts... it's worse than JPG compression... no wonder...

horrible summary and article... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476816)

Why not tell us where this really is in the summary (like close to Australia)?

Where are the pictures!?

I for one.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476846)

Welcome our new vortexy overlord. More fish, oh spinny one?

Power Plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15476862)

Idea! Tap the energy in this current with a turbine ...

These things just happen... (5, Funny)

RyanXP (979906) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476874)

These things happen a lot when you run a game with a vindictive Dungeon Master. You make one teeeny fat joke about his girlfriend and he throws down his cheetohs and dumps all of your characters in a giant ocean vortex. Jerk.

Re:These things just happen... (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476938)

Mine made some Nycaloths pursue us for at least 5 gaming sessions... oh well

Re:These things just happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477253)

Seriously agreed. I've played with this guy. He needs to just shutup and just stop having such a fat girlfriend.

Elevator to R'lyeh (5, Funny)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476947)

Great Cthulhu has awakened once again! Soon His undersea minions will spawn all across the surface of the globe.

Re:Elevator to R'lyeh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477170)

Cthulu fhtagn, Cthulhu fhtagn.

Re:Elevator to R'lyeh (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477247)

--Prayer for Avoiding the Notice of Mighty Cthulhu--
O Mighty Cthulhu,
Destroyer of Worlds,
Betrayer of Hope,
Unstoppable Force of Annihilation,
Please cast your attention
towards someone else.
I really don't care who.
Feel free to eat my neighbor,
my spouse, my dog.
Anyone that isn't me.
Cthulhu fhtagn, Cthulhu fhtagn!
Please go back to fhtagn-ing,
whatever that may be.

I saw a documentary about this (4, Funny)

Attila (23211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476955)

It was on Discovery or something, some show about a search for a particular fish around Australia??? I just remember this once scene where they found this vortex, went like this:

Marlin: Where? I don't see it.
Dory: There! I see it! I see it!
Marlin: You mean the swirling vortex of terror?
Crush: That's it, dude!

Re:I saw a documentary about this (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477706)

It was on Discovery or something, some show about a search for a particular fish around Australia???

Its obvious that you are not the parent of a four year old boy who has Finding Nemo bath toys and Finding Nemo dvd's and Finding Nemo luggage and Finding Nemo books and Finding Nemo clothing and a Finding Nemo toothbrush, etc, etc.

Re:I saw a documentary about this (1)

hatrisc (555862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478761)

sounds like SOMEONE is a little bit cranky. How about you go take a nap in your Finding Nemo pajamas? :)

This must be (0, Troll)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15476981)

Due to global warming.

(let's blame man-induced global warming for everything despite proof of extreme climate cycles over the eons)

Re:This must be (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477059)

I have a better idea - let's blame climate cycles that take eons between extremes instead of man-induced global warming that's spiked like a punks hairdoo in 100 years and is only going in one direction. That'll show those darn know-it-all PhDs.

Re:This must be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477116)

Fabulous troll, kimvette.

Nobody seems to be suggesting that anthropogenic climate change has led to this, despite your false statement above. Of course, it is known that anthropogenic climate change is affecting ocean currents around Europe already, but don't let that get in the way of your rand-induced libertarian/republican head-in-the-sand attitude.

Now, if you really want to know why your statement about "extreme climate cycles over eons" doesn't explain the changes we are seeing currently with climate change (you seem to be someone having trouble understanding the proof behind climate change and global warming), I suggest you go to realclimate.org. This is a site set up by professional climatologists and represents the current understanding and agreement of thousands of professional scientists in climatology and related fields.

Of course, you could just sneak little snarks against global warming into threads about phenomena that haven't been related to it, as you've just done. But I always like to suggest ways that people can correct their ignorance.

I guess the choice is yours.

Re:This must be (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477294)

How the fuck is a funny comment a troll?

Good way to throw away mod points. Go to K-mart and buy a sense of humor, mmmKay?

Re:This must be (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477455)

Well, 1. it wasn't the slightest bit funny, 2. it made snide and inaccurate implications in order to attack a political position. That sounds like a troll to me. Unfortunately I have no mod points.

Glaring omission (5, Informative) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477041)

from the writeup... TFA states: 200km in diameter and 1000m deep - spinning at speeds up to 5kph just off the Rottnest Canyon.

OOH!! I'm so scared!!

Incorrect units (1, Interesting)

WillerZ (814133) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478042)

spinning at speeds up to 5kph


What's that in radians per second?

Re:Incorrect units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15478124)

1.39E-5 rad/sec.

(assuming 5 km/hr is at the edge)

rad / sec = 5 km / hr * 2Pi rad / 628km * 1hr / 3600 sec

Re:Glaring omission (5, Informative) (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478705)

Considering that most slashdotters are likely unable to run at 5kmph, let alone swim that fast, I think any mass panic is largely justified.

Re:Glaring omission (5, Informative) (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#15479350)

5kmh is a slow walk. I think most slashdotters can maintain that speed in short bursts :)

However, in terms of energy (and inertia), 5 kmh could be huge when you're talking about millions/billions of liters of water, or if you're talking about little bitty creatures, like krill or fish larvae.

Still no cause for 'EVERYBODY PANIC'.

What's Causing It? (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477081)

The article was a little light on details as to what created and continues to drive this vortex. Can anyone fill in some details?

Schwab

Re:What's Causing It? (5, Informative)

Tallweirdo (657529) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477310)

The vortex is probably just a result of the Leeuwin Current [csiro.au] (linked article contains satellite thermal pictures showing eddies in the current).

The Leeuwin Current is a permanent feature of Western Australia's waters and reaches it's peak in the autumn and winter (so it is at its peak now).

From the linked article "The Leeuwin Current rarely flows around the eastern side of Rottnest, but it frequently bathes the western and southwestern sides, influencing the flora and fauna there. Sea temperatures in those regions in winter are several degrees higher than against the mainland coast."

Re:What's Causing It? (4, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477316)

In other news:
Scientists in nearby Perth are sudying a 20m wide plug shaped object that was dragged up from the ocean floor by local fishermen.

Re:What's Causing It? (2, Funny)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477973)

Scientists in nearby Perth are sudying a 20m wide plug shaped object that was dragged up from the ocean floor by local fishermen.

You mean This [wikipedia.org]?

I live in Perth, just off the coast of this thing. (3, Funny)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477205)

and I can tell you that seeing as it's the 6/6/06 I fully support our new Cthulhu overload that I expect to rise up out of this thing :-) (Bound to do a better job of bringing Howard to heel than Beazley is doing).

Re:I live in Perth, just off the coast of this thi (1)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477691)

Someone just pulled the plug out of the drain, sorry to disappoint you. Maybe sometime in the next 1000 years.

we promise... (3, Insightful)

JeremyALogan (622913) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477225)

I absolutely despise it when we get quote like "you can see it from space", but then they don't give us any pictures. Why no pictures people?

Re:we promise... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477238)

The scientist didn't want re-orient the Hubble to point downward. It might get sucked down if it looks too deeply.

Re:we promise... (1)

Frogular (961545) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477413)

The article says the rotation speed's about 5 kph, or 3 mph. How'd you see something like that from space? Is that 5 kph near the circumference? If you assume it's spinning like a disc, it's barely moving in the inner 50km.

Re:we promise... (1)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477582)

It's probably a stupid sensationalist comment. Kinda like saying, "I can see Indiana from space!" Well sure, I can see Indiana, but there's no way to differentiate it from any of the rest of the continent, except for the fact that I know the man-made borders for it. ...That said, I would LOVE to see a picture of this thing from space.

Re:we promise... (2, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478070)

It's probably meaningless. You're visible from space, with good enough optics, and a low enough orbit.

Re:we promise... (1)

Belgarion89 (969077) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478637)

Looking at Google Earth, I can see a subterranean canyon with a small, dark circle just north of it just of the coast from Perth. I'm guessing it's just excited scientist who are shocked they made it into the news. Seriously, "deathtrap" invokes ships going down, not misplaced fish larvae.

And in other news... (2, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477292)

Al Gore says that the vortex is George W. Bush's fault.

LK

Re:And in other news... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477654)

Wait, but I thought Al Gore invented the vortex?

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477931)

nonono, George Bush invented Al Gore.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477728)

GW Bush says that the vortex is gay people's fault. It's God's punishment, you see....

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477926)

I say it's Microsoft's fault.

Argh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477305)

Nothing better than an article which includes the line "it can be seen from space" but no picture!

Why not pictures? (0, Redundant)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477345)

This seems to me to have a high "cool factor". How can there be no pictures?

Re:Why not pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477730)

The local newspaper (The West Australian, http://www.thewest.com.au/ [thewest.com.au] did, as I remember, print a picture on Saturday 3/June. I thought it looked cool, but you have to pay to see the online version (which sucks!). The West is a fairly dismal paper (IMHO) and its online presence is appalling (which may not be such a bad thing...)

proper naming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15477364)

I dub thee "Tropical Disturbance Vista".

As always, Clive Cussler predicted this. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477381)

Ah Clive, the modern Jules Verne. The new A.C. Clarke.

The bad guys in one of his forgettable books were using giant EM generators to... let's see... trigger a magnetic pole reversal to crush global corporations. One of the side effects of this testing was giant ocean vortexes, which smelled bad.

I think that about covers it, other than the whole "completely preposterous" part.

Writing... (1, Troll)

Ahkorishaan (774757) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477448)

Is it just me or was that article some the the worst writing ever seen? It was painful to read...

Re:Writing... (1)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477609)

And it was by the Associated Press -- which is why if you've been doing some searching, like I have, you'll notice the ~same~ article on all the other news sites. ...Ugh. :-/

Re:Writing... (1)

Alicat1194 (970019) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477687)

No kidding, "The University of Western Australia Murdoch University"? I think somebody missed a comma.

Re:Writing... (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478945)

No kidding, "The University of Western Australia Murdoch University"? I think somebody missed a comma.

Actually, the place was named after the famous philosopher, Western A. M. University. Mr. University never did like his full name and insisted they not use the whole thing, but by that time the plaques had already been made and it would have been a huge expense to redo them.

Rottnest is Australia's bermuda triangle (1)

dirtyforker (844960) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477591)

I went to Rottnest after my college exams a few years back. I was obviously kidnapped by aliens as when I returned I had severe dehydration, nausea, a splitting headache and my memory had been erased. Don't trust the place!

bermuda (1)

disturbedite (979015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15477661)

maybe its like the bermuda triangle... actually i know that several theories in the last several may very well have demystified the triangle...

Re:bermuda (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478500)

"i know that several theories ... may very well have demystified the triangle"

There are a couple of facts about the triangles:
-It holds a dense trafic (most of the boats from US to europe take that route because the gulf stream boosts their speed).
-In that area, the gulf stream can cause fast and extreme weather changes and an unlucky crew can be trapped in a violent storm without warning.
-Considering these two facts, the casualty in that area is more or less at a normal level and insurance companies do not ask sailors to avoid the area.
-Most of the accident that build the myth have very few observed facts (they all predate radar and satelite coverage of the area) and the myth was built by unscrupulous reporters around the idea that we know far too well: unexplained=unexplainable=God of the gaps/aliens...

WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15478149)

Isnt this located between Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdom?

flying fish (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 7 years ago | (#15478627)

"It's warm, soft, moist air, with flying fish, it's a very different environment." What else would one expect for chissakes - this is a 'giant child's spinning top' we're talking about here, not some mambly-pambly bathtub vortex. Did you expect the fish to simply swim away? We're all doomed.
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