Moskenstraumen Tidal Whirlpool

January 17, 2012 by staff 

Moskenstraumen Tidal WhirlpoolMoskenstraumen Tidal Whirlpool, The Moskenstraumen or Moskstraumen is a system of tidal eddies and whirlpools, one of the strongest in the world, that forms at the Lofoten archipelago, Norway, in the Norwegian Sea. It is located between the Lofoten Point (Norwegian: Lofotodden) of Moskenes?ya island (Moskenes municipality) and Vaeroyisland, at the small island of Mosken. Moskenstraumen is unusual in that it occurs in the open sea whereas most other whirlpools are observed in confined straits or rivers. It originates from a combination of several factors, the dominant being the strong semi-diurnal tides and peculiar shape of the seabed, with a shallow ridge between the Moskenes?ya and Vaeroyislands which amplifies and whirls the tidal currents.

The Moskenstraumen has been featured in many historical accounts, generally exaggerated. It is also popularly known as maelstrom – a Nordic word for a strong whirlpool which originates from the Dutch combination of malen (to grind) and stroom (stream). This term was introduced into the English language by Edgar Allan Poe in 1841, through his short story “A Descent into the Maelstr?m”. Poe provides an alternate name for the whirlpool with the line: “We Norwegians call it the Moskoestrom, from the island of Moskoe in the midway.”

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