Sea Foam Tide-marks on Rusty Iron

Dried sea foam on rusty iron

I noted an interesting phenomenon at Weymouth in Dorset recently. The rusty iron panels of the pier structure exhibited tide-marks or tide-lines of dried sea foam from a previous high water. I have never seen that before. The contrasting colours, patterns, and textures of the creamy lines against the multi-coloured oxidising metal made interesting compositions.

Wikipedia says about sea foam:

Sea foam, ocean foam, beach foam, or spume is a type of foam created by the agitation of seawater, particularly when it contains higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter (including proteins, lignins, and lipids)[1] derived from sources such as the offshore breakdown of algal blooms. These compounds can act as surfactants or foaming agents. As the seawater is churned by breaking waves in the surf zone adjacent to the shore, the presence of these surfactants under these turbulent conditions traps air, forming persistent bubbles that stick to each other through surface tension. Due to its low density and persistence, foam can be blown by strong on-shore winds from the beachface inland.

Seafoam at Seatown

Seafoam texture

When I visited Seatown today, the sea was spectacular. Although the weather had not been particularly windy or stormy, the waves were huge and crashing with great force against the pebble bank on the shore. Each new wave increased the white foam till it looked like whipped cream, or the penultimate stage of egg whites beaten for meringues. Here are some pictures of the seafoam being generated by the tremendous energy of the sea. Click on any image to enlarge.

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Seafoam texture

Winter Seascapes at Rhossili

View of Worms Head, Rhossili, Gower, under winter skies

Christmas Day 2013 in Rhossili saw bitter cold weather with outbursts of torrential rain, gale force winds, and occasional dry spells and shafts of pale yellow sunlight through the fast-moving clouds. The beach looked spectacular as the tide ebbed. White sea foam creamed the waves and scudded across the shore. Cloud bursts made a shimmering halo of rain bouncing on the top of Worms Head. Vast expanses of wet sand reflecting the lowering skies, together with tumescent black clouds, framed dark views of Worms Head and Burry Holms.

Cloud burst and sun shafts over Worms Head on the Gower Peninsula

Cloud burst and sun shafts over Worms Head on the Gower Peninsula

View looking north across Rhossili beach towards Burry Holms, 25th December 2013

View looking north across Rhossili beach towards Burry Holms, 25th December 2013

Rough sea topped with sea foam at Rhossili, Christmas Day 2013

Sun breaking through storm clouds over Worms Head at Rhossili on Christmas Day 2013

Winspit Waves 4

  

CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR A SHORT VIDEO OF WAVES AND REFLECTION PATTERNS

Waves washing onto a seashore rock ledge, with dynamic patterns of reflected light each time the water retreats. 

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

Winspit Waves 3

Waves breaking on the rock ledge at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast

Waves breaking on the rock ledge at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast where stone was quarried from the cliffs in times gone by and loaded onto boats.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR A SHORT VIDEO OF THE WAVES

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

Winspit Waves 2

The waves breaking on the man-made rock ledge at Winspit, Dorset, UK on the Jurassic Coast.

The waves breaking on the man-made rock ledge at Winspit, Dorset, UK on the Jurassic Coast, where stone was quarried long ago and loaded straight onto boats.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR A SHORT VIDEO OF THE WAVES

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

Chesil Beach waves on a calm day – video clip

CLICK ON THE PICTURE ABOVE TO START THE SHORT VIDEO CLIP

Chesil Beach on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast makes a magnificent sight with its huge bank of graded pebbles. However, the quality of the experience on a visit to Chesil Beach is auditory as well as visual.

Viewing this short movie clip with the sound switched off, the waves have a simple hypnotic, somewhat tantalising, effect as you wait for the appearance of each new embryonic wave crest to emerge and crash…….

…….but turn the volume full up on this video and you will get some idea of the noise generated, even on a calm day, by the sea on the pebble beach – the crash of the waves on the shore and the following  tremendous scraunching sound as the pebbles are dragged, rubbing and scraping against each other, back towards the sea by the receding waves. On rougher days, the noise can be totally overwhelming.