Marine researchers from Australia spot underwater ‘tornado’
Photo Credit: Twiitter/@SchmidtOcean

We have a heard a lot many things about tornadoes. Seen them too, enough number of times in movies. Twister, Into the Storm, anyone? Of course, a lot of countries have witnessed them first-hand. But, did you know, there are underwater tornadoes as well? Recently, marine researchers from Australia were shocked to see a vortex forming on the seabed.

According to Reuters, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) SuBastian, filmed a tornado-shaped formation moving underwater in the Coral Sea Marine Park, leaving a trail along the seabed before disappearing.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute, after analysis, said the tornado-shaped formation was likely caused by vertical thrusters on its underwater remotely operated vehicle.

"We're not quite sure of what we're seeing. After further analysis, we have determined that this most likely was caused by vertical thrusters on the ROV, which caused a vortex moving the current direction," director of marine communications at the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Dr Carlie S. Wiener told Reuters.

According to cnet.com, the marine geologists stumbled upon this wonder of nature when they were exploring corals and a creature called 'sea pen'. Robin Beaman, one of the geologists who noticed the formation, said it reminded him of a “benthic storm”. These storms travel under the surface of the sea causing turbulence at the bottom of the ocean.

Professor Greg Ivey, UWA’s Winthrop Professor of Geophysical Fluid while describing benthic storms told wamsi.org.au: “They are similar to surface waves but instead of travelling along the top of the water they travel beneath the surface and occur when cold water from the bottom of the ocean is pushed up the continental slope by tides. They can be up to 80 metres high in water columns where the total water depth is only 120 metres. As they travel inshore they steepen, which results in large near-bottom currents and energetic turbulence – a benthic storm.”

There's no clear explanation on how the 'water tornado' was formed, yet. But, this is nonetheless a fascinating revelation.

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