Friday 26 April 2013

"Amazing monstrous whirlpool"

Vortex In Latvian River Devours All That Enters

24 April, 2013

In 1841, Edgar Allen Poe referred to a maelstrom, or powerful whirlpool in the ocean, as a "whole sea ... lashed into ungovernable fury."

Now 172 years later, a YouTube video titled "Amazing monstrous whirlpool" gives gravity to Poe's words, though (likely) on a slightly smaller scale. Set in Dviete, Latvia, near the banks of the Daugava River, the video depicts a mysterious whirlpool churning -- and destroying -- all that enters.
Huge chunks of ice? Gone. Floating islands of debris? Annihilated.
"Swallowing everything dragged towards its direction," reads the description by Jānis Astičs, "this monstrous whirlpool looks as if a plug has been pulled from the ground beneath."
Astičs isn't too far off in his analysis, actually. While most whirlpools in nature occur as a result of fast moving currents meeting one another in opposite directions (often caused by ocean tides), the phenomenon in the video shares a lot in common with a draining bathtub.
Indeed, a longer version of the same video shows the mysterious "monstrous whirlpool" in Latvia has been formed by water from the swollen river flowing into an inlet on the upstream side of a bridge. All of the debris is funneled under the road on which spectators are standing and flows downstream.
According to the European Federation for Rural Tourism, Latvia's Dviete river valley, where this video was filmed, is home to a massive wetland during flooding season. The marsh serves as a critical area for birds, both for nesting and migration.

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