What causes large whirlpools in the ocean?



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    Whirlpools are ocean currents that move in a rotating direction, produced by rising and falling tides. Some of these exhibit a downward pull, called a vortex.

    One of the most famous whirlpools is the Maelstrom located near the Lofoten Islands, off the coast of Norway. The word comes from the Dutch for ‘whirling stream’. This is caused by a strong channel about 5 miles wide that travels through the islands of Moskensøya and Mosken. The currents can reach speeds of 7mph with the changing tides.

    Others occur on the Strait of Corryvreckan (between Scarba and Jura, off the west coast of Scotland), along the coast of Calabria in southern Italy and off Messina, in the strait between Sicily and peninsular Italy. A vortex occurs in the Naruto Strait, which connects the Inland Sea (Japan) and the Pacific Ocean.

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