Susan Casey on the mysterious life of waves
What is it about waves? Susan Casey, author of her newest book, The Wave, believes that besides the sun, waves are one of the most powerful forces — beautiful, mysterious and terrifying. For three years, Casey has been studying this phenomenon, observing their behavior, researching their history, and talking with people who spend their lives in the ocean.
Casey went on to explain that waves can take many forms. Rogue waves, which she referred to as “oceanic criminals” are known to be two-three times bigger than an average wave. Rogue waves can swallow up 1,000 foot ships; in fact, an estimated two ships per month disappear from these waves.
Tsunamis, caused by the lurching of the earth’s crust, are another force to be reckoned with, whether in Lisbon in 1755, Indonesia in 2004 — or in the “spookiest place on Earth,” Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958 when a 1,740 foot wave slammed into the surrounding mountains.
Casey’s research on waves had her tracking down surfers like Laird Hamilton and scientists like Penny Holiday whose research ship serendipitously ended up measuring the largest waves ever recorded.
Casey summed up her passion for studying waves, “My purpose was to talk about what we don’t know about the ocean … the thing that makes up most of the planet.”
(Photo credit: Kris Krüg)
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