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Rogue waves
Rogue waves
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Stories about giant waves have been circulating among sailors for centuries, but sceptical scientists thought they were about as common as mermaids. Then, in 1995, an oil platform in the North Sea was hit by a big one during a huge storm, and it had the equipment on hand to determine that the wave had been a massive 25.5 metres tall. A few years later, a 29-metre wave was measured by a research vessel west of Scotland. Oceanographers realized that not only were these massive waves real, they were surprisingly common. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rogue waves are more than twice the size of surrounding waves (often getting as big as 30 metres tall), come from surprising directions, and only happen in open seas. Find out the 13 coolest scientific discoveries of last year.

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