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USGS CMG InfoBank: Surf

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Comment: 04:47 - 05:49 (01:02)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed 24, Waves, Beaches and Coasts
Keywords: water, wave, shore, "sea floor", seabed, "wave base", energy, "circular orbit", wavelength, "frictional drag", surf

Our transcription: As the wave approaches the shore, and the water becomes shallower, the sea floor intersects the wave base confining the wave energy.
The wave now starts to slow down as the sea floor begins to interfere with the orbital motions.
This forces the wave up and shortens its length because waves behind it, still in deeper water, are advancing faster and begin to overtake it.
As this happens to a succession of waves, they bunch up like cars in a traffic jam.
As the bottom of each wave is slowed by the frictional drag of the seabed, the top continues to surge forward making the wave steeper and steeper.
Eventually this steep front can no longer support the wave, and it breaks into surf.

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Page Last Modified: Thu Oct 31 04:27:52 PDT 2013  (chd)