Foaming Ocean Whips Beachgoers into a Frenzy

Beach-side foam party gone out of control? Not quite. A shoreline north of Sydney, Australia was transformed into the "Cappuccino Coast," as one journalist put it, with foam swallowing up an entire beach and half the nearby buildings, including the lifeguard HQ.

A phenomenon not seen on the beach for more than 30 years, the frothy mix stretched for 30 miles out into the Pacific. Unnamed scientists say that the foam was caused by impurities in the ocea, such as salts, chemicals, dead plants, decomposed fish, and—eww—secretions from seaweed.Here's how the eggheads tried to explain the oversize bubble bath:

As a wave starts to form on the surface, the motion of the water causes bubbles to swirl upwards. Massed together, all those bubbles whip together to form foam, which then "surfs" toward shore until the wave crashes and tosses the foam into the air.

"It's the same effect you get when you whip up a milk shake in a blender," says a marine expert. "The more powerful the swirl, the more foam you create on the surface and the lighter it becomes."

Storms off the New South Wales Coast and further north of Queensland created this massive ocean disturbance by coincidentally hitting a stretch of water that was particularly rich in bubble-forming substances.

Or maybe nature just felt like getting its freak on. ::The Daily Mail

Tags: Australia | Oceans | Sydney

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