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April 22, 2007

The secret of Mavericks

photo of Mavericks by tomplunkett/flickr.com. Photo available under a Creative Commons license. Details and original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomplunkett/36052758/ .

The bit of central California coastline known as Mavericks is regarded as one of the best big-wave surfing spots in the world, with waves sometimes hitting 50 feet in height. Now geologists have figured out exactly what it is that makes this particular spot of coastline so special.

It turns out at that spot offshore there's a narrow, gently sloping bed of hard rock that acts like a natural ramp, allowing arriving ocean swells to smoothly rise up and continue to rise to truly gnarly heights.

The work was done by the Seafloor Mapping Lab at California State University in Monterey Bay. Check out the cool undersea charts with the report.

(Photo of Mavericks by tomplunkett/flickr.com)

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at April 22, 2007 06:15 PM