Diffracting Internal Waves
Nicobar Islands

Diffracting Internal Waves, Nicobar Islands

Flight 51B; 8N, 90.7E, 01:42:23 GMT, 5 May 1985

In oceanographic circles, the Andaman Sea is most famous as the location where an astronaut's photograph first revealed that nonlinear, internal soliton waves exist in the ocean. The sea is constantly stirred by internal waves forced by the strong diurnal tides. The Nicobar Islands are volcanic in origin and rise precipitously from depths greater than 2,000 meters. As a result, internal waves forced through the gaps between the islands are hardly modified by the sea floor, but are diffracted by the islands themselves.
    Such was the view seen by the commander of the Challenger over the islands of Camorta, Trinkat, Nancowry, and Katchall. The internal wave set forced by the high tide of the day (5 May) was diffracting past the southern tip of Nancowry, while those formed on the previous tide could be seen spreading north and diffracting against the tiny Isle of Man and the long, thin island of Tillanchong.

Download 83.tiff high resolution TIFF file (8.5 MB)

Contents Waves prev: Internal Waves, Equatorial Indian Ocean next: Internal Waves, Red Sea