Business, Finance & Economics

Giant cyclone swirls beneath the sea off African coast

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A giant ocean eddy off the coast of South Africa is captured by NASA photos on December 26, 2011.

Credit:

NASA Earth Observatory

NASA photos released Tuesday show a huge storm, or "eddy", swirling beneath the sea off the coast of South Africa.

The 93-mile-wide eddy happened on December 26 of last year but the photos were just released.

According to the Daily Mail, there was no alert for international shipping and it posed no harm to sealife caught in the cyclone.

Instead of causing the same destruction as terrestrial storms, eddies bring nutrients up from the deep, helping to nourish and feed plankton that blooms under the sea - the reason why it is visible from space, says the New Scientist.

This counter-clockwise eddy is believed to have spun off of the Agulhas Current, which flows along the southeastern coast of Africa and around the tip of South Africa, says the Daily Mail.

The eddies that spin off this current are often some of the largest seen in the world, says the Daily Mail, and can reduce fishing catch sizes due to the displacement of fish after the whirwind passes by.