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Disappearing Surf Mystifies Scientists

Something has caused the breakers to disappear from Europe'smost famous surfing beach. The Basque Wave, which may reachupwards of 20 feet as it breaks, has been reduced to littlemore than a ripple.

Scientists are unable to explain the disappearance of thewave, which was discovered by surfer Craig Sage about 20years ago. The Basque Wave was famous for sweeping in fromfar out at sea, and offered the most exciting surfingexperience in Europe.

The wave may have been affected by offshore dredging or bychanging sand bars, but its sudden disappearance suggeststhat changes in ocean currents or the structure of the seafloor could also be responsible.

There has been no earthquake activity along the midatlanticridge that would explain the change, and no know volcanicactivity in the region. A general upwelling of the sea flooroff the Spanish coast might stop the wave, but no suchphenomenon has as yet been detected. A change in thestrength of currents in the area could also be responsible.

The Gulf Stream, which flows far to the north of the wavearea, is responsible for a powerful current that sweepssouthward as the stream impacts the British and Irishcoasts. If this has stopped or significantly weakened, itwould also affect the Basque Wave.

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