LOOK: NASA Drops Breathtaking Image of Earth’s Biggest Waves

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Nuture

NASA has done it again. This time the space agency released incredible satellite images of the world’s largest waves. In fact, they are so massive they can be seen from space. According to NASA, our planet’s tallest waves hit the coast of Nazaré, Portugal, while the fastest wave pummeled into Hawaii.

At the same time, the strongest wave in the world was recorded in Tahiti, while Peru had the longest swells. Later, the space agency called the waves so “magnificent” you could see them from outer space.

“With the broad perspective of satellites, we can see how these iconic waves develop into the world’s tallest, longest, fastest, and heaviest,” the narrator in the clip said.

In Maui, high-speed waves known as “freight trains” pop up in the summertime due to the area’s storms. In the video, viewers can see the Hawaiian wave, which experts believe was caused by a recent category four storm known as ‘Walaka.’

According to NASA, the wave’s speed along this part of the island “comes from the dramatic transition of the seafloor from deep water to shallow.”

They added: “Still, freight train waves are relatively rare, requiring swells to approach the bay from the perfect southerly direction.”

NASA explains why some parts of the world have different wave patterns

Across the globe in Portugal, the waves at Nazaré are world-famous and can increase strength and intensity from far-away storms. Yet, storms aren’t the only reason the swells in this area of Portugal are so massive.

“The waves are magnified and focused by a deep underwater canyon that comes to an end at Nazaré Bay,” the narrator said in the photo. NASA also explained that the island’s remoteness influences Tahiti’s heavy waves.

“The swells from storms thousands of miles away often travel unimpeded across the South Pacific toward the southern coast,” the narrator added.

“These southwesterly swells carry energy across the deep, open ocean until crashing into the very shallow reef off Teahupo’o.”

Over in Peru, the long waves at Chicama are influenced by the land’s distinct shape. “Waves arriving from the open Pacific roll nearly parallel to this part of Peru’s coastline,” the narrator said in the video.

“They start to roll up at a cape that juts into the Pacific. Then they progressively break at a series of four points along the shoreline.”

According to reports, surfers can ride the waves at Chicama for minutes at a time when the conditions are ripe. The space agency concluded the video by stating that all of these swells are “shaped by the unique features of our oceans and coasts.”

“There are many other coasts with waves revered by surfers. Given the vastness of Earth, there are probably a few more to be discovered,” they added. NASA Earth Observatory provided the images, and Lauren Dauphin was the photographer.