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3. Mediterranean Sea, Shear Wall Spiral Eddies
During the course of STS 41-G, oceanographer Paul Scully-Power observed spiral eddies at 13 locations around the globe. Spiral eddies are probably the most fundamental individual feature in ocean dynamics on the scale visible to orbiting astronauts. This photograph was taken in the Mediterranean off the coast of the Egyptian/Libyan border. It depicts a shear current, but the spirals are unusual in that, rather than exhibiting apparently random patterns as in slides #1 and #2, they are aligned in a straight line or “street.” It is thought this alignment in a street formation reflects that the spirals have only just been created along the shear wall and have not had sufficient time to interact with surrounding dynamic features to form a more random pattern.
STS-41G, October 1984. Picture #17-35-094