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Internal Waves off Somalia
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Internal Waves off Somalia

April 2, 2013
At the boundary between the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Sea, internal waves abound. As their name suggests, internal waves occur not at the water’s surface, but underneath. They actually occur at the boundary between two layers of water with differing densities. When the lower, denser layer encounters an obstacle, such as a shelf, movement over and around it causes undulations (waves) at the boundary. These waves aren’t usually visible from sea level, but they reflect light like any other wave, which makes it possible to see them from high altitudes. This true-color Aqua MODIS image was acquired on August 27, 2003. The large land-mass to the west is the northeastern point of Somalia, while the islands are part of Yemen. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC


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