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How do waves form?

When it comes to the ocean, waves keep rolling in continuously. As though there is no end to them, but surely they are somehow formed? Surely there is a start to each wave at some point?

How are waves in the ocean formed?
Posted in Geography, asked by Inila, 6 years ago. 887 hits.


Wave formation

There are so many different forms of waves, but the most common wave everyone thinks of when hearing the word is the “Wind wave”. Ocean waves or water waves (wind waves) travel across the through the surface of water.

They are mostly formed and produced by wind that blows over a distance. The longer the distance of wind generation the larger the wave gets as it travels across the water. This is one of the reasons why ocean waves are larger, because the wind blows without interruption over long distances allowing for the formation of large waves. Waves can sometimes be as large as 20 - 30 meters high.

When the wind stops the waves continue to travel as swells and with or without wind they eventually end up on the shoreline as crashing waves. As they approach the shore the water depth becomes more and more shallow and this will cause the swell to transform into a wave that curls over and collapses as it reaches the ground level.

Sometimes there could be a reef or sandbank that is off the shore, then the waves will crash on these before getting to the shoreline.
A number of additional factors influence wave size and formation. They are:

  • Wind speed
  • Distance
  • Water depth
  • Duration of wind and travel
  • The width of the surface area
5 years ago
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