Whirlpools are swirling bodies of water created by tides, or by running into an object such as a rock. The wave then rushes back into an on-coming wave, causing them to swirl together and make a whirlpool.They are most commonly seen in fast moving waters like rivers. Most of the whirlpools are not very strong, but there are some powerful
This whirlpool is 2 1/2 feet acrossed
whirlpools that are known as maelstroms. When they have a down draft , like in the picture on the right, its called a vortex. Many people believe that, like in the movies, whirlpools are strong enough to pull a boat under, but they are rarely ever that strong or barely strong enough to cause boats damage, let alone pull them under. In fact, for a whirlpool to even damage a ship the whirlpool must be very strong and the boat must be very small and weak. Whirlpools can be made by many different factors such as waves, tides, or even waterfalls, but waterfalls don't make very strong whirlpools, except the Niagara Falls, which is one of the biggest waterfalls in the world. Have you ever been on a water slide? If so have you noticed how you get pulled down at the bottom? Well this is one of the many kinds of man made whirlpools.

Major whirlpools

Some of the biggest and fastest whirlpools are off the coast of Japan, the USA, Norway, and Scotland. The biggest whirlpool is off the Lofoten islands of Norway and is named the Moskstraumen. The name Moskstraumen came from the Dutch word stroom, meaning current and malen, meaning to crush. The latest reference to this whirlpool dates all the way back to the nineteenth century. First by Edger Allan Poe and then by Jules Verne in his novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This whirlpool has been measured at speeds up to 27.8 kilometers per hour (17.3mph). Although they are powerful they cannot take down a large ship, as described by author Edger Allan Poe. Some believe that Moskstraumen is the strongest whirlpool but others would argue that the Old Snow off the coast of the United States is stronger. Old Snow has been measured to be 250 ft in diameter with the max speed about 27.7 kilometers per hour. That's just .1 kilometers behind Moskstraumen.
A whirlpool near coral reefs