A Nasa satellite has provided jaw-dropping pictures of a huge ‘storm’ brewing under the sea.
The swirling mass of water – which measures a whopping 93 miles wide – has been spotted off the coast of South Africa by the Terra satellite on December 26.
But there’s no need to alert international shipping, or worry about the poor fish that might find themselves in an endless washing cycle – the body of water poses no threat.
Stunning image: The 90-mile-wide whirlpool, spotted off the coast of South Africa by Nasa’s Terra satellite, looks deadly but it more likely to create life by lifting nutrients from the ocean floor
Indeed, it is more likely to create life by sucking nutrients from the bed and bringing them to the surface.
The sea storms – which are better known as eddies – form bizarre whirl shaped shapes deep beneath the ocean’s surface.
This counter-clockwise eddy is thought to have peeled off from the Agulhas Current, which flows along the southeastern coast of Africa and around the tip of South Africa.
Closer look: A detail from the Terra photo shows the eddy is turning counter-clockwise – with the water surrounding it becoming a deeper blue the further it is from the centre
Agulhas eddies – also called ‘current rings’ – tend to be among the largest in the world, transporting warm, salty water from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic.
Agulhas eddies can remove juvenile fish from the continental shelf, reducing catch sizes if one passes through a fishing region.
The bizarre phenomenon was spotted when the Terra satellite was conducting a routine natural-colour image of the Earth.