A mysterious network of submarine rivers appears around the Australian coast

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered an unprecedented system of submarine rivers hidden from view along the continental shelf of Australia, on a scale unseen anywhere else in the world.

This phenomenon, called water cascades of the tight shelf, appears to surround most of the country, according to new data recorded by underwater probes that have detected underwater flows along more than 10,000 kilometers of Australia’s coastline.

“This is the most significant discovery for coastal oceanography in recent decades, not only in Australia but throughout the world,” says oceanographer Chari Pattiaratchi of the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Dense shelf water cascades (DSWC) are the result of changes in water density near the coast.

The process has been studied previously – especially in the waters around the Australian coast – but so far no one has realized that Australia seems to be demonstrating a unique, almost continental case of this phenomenon.

“This work was the result of collecting a huge dataset using IMOS ocean probes for more than a decade … equivalent to spending more than 2500 days at sea,” explains Tanziha Mahajabin, lead author and oceanographer.

“This allowed us to study data from different parts of Australia, as well as to study seasonal variations.”

The results obtained between 2008 and 2019 in eight different regions show that this phenomenon is seasonal in nature, peaking in the winter months due to heat loss in shallow water.


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