Mavericks: High surf is more than just what's on the surface

The science behind Mavericks killer waves

Nature's mean wave-making machine U.S. Geological Survey

Hang onto your boards, there's a big one coming--next winter. In lieu of some serious Mavericks surf, you can check out the latest science findings on how these high waves are formed. A whole raft of government and educational groups combined efforts to map the Pacific Ocean floor, track the incoming waves, measure the currents, and generally scope out the Mavericks wave-making machinery.

They found "the abrupt topography of the bedrock reef at Mavericks causes wave energy to converge...causing the wave to rapidly slow down, shorten in length and substantially increase in height." Makes a surfer's pulse race, too.

For a look at some past waves and Mavericks competitions you can click here. There's also a photo rich site here. The next really big waves are expected in the winter when the surf's truly up.

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    Harry Fuller escaped from television work to be executive editor at CNET News.com.

     

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