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No. 84: Nov-Dec 1992

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The Florida Rogue Wave

Very little has appeared in the scien-tific literature about the huge wave that crashed ashore at Daytona Beach, Florida, on July 3, 1992. Apparently, the scientific community is happy with the landslide explanation, but there may have been a different sort of disturbance.

First, the basic data:

"A wall of water as much as 18 feet high rose out of a calm sea and crashed ashore, smashing hundreds of vehicles parked on the beach and causing 75 minor injuries, officials and witnesses said.

"An undersea landslide apparently caused the 27-mile-long rogue wave late Friday night, a federal seismologist said yesterday."

The seismologist cited, F. Baldwin from the U.S. Geological Survey, estimated that the wave was 18 feet high and 250 feet wide.

(Anonymous; "Rogue Wave Smashes into Beach," Hawaii Tribune-Herald, July 5, 1992. Cr. H. DeKalb.)

Rumors of a falling object. The landslide theory sounds good, but there have been rumors that another phenomenon was involved. B. Stein, of Orlando, has reported the testimony of a boater, who was far offshore at the time:

"...the boater came forward with the information that, shortly before the time of the wave, he was in his boat about eight miles offshore. He watched as a distant object approached across the sky toward the ocean at a high rate of speed, and crossed the bow of his boat at an angle with a "whoosh" (his word). Shortly after, a giant swell made his 41-foot sailboat handle like a large surfboard. Various news sources state that the meteorite, as it is now being called, was anywhere from a meter to 10 feet across. The boater who wished to remain anonymous, gave the professors enough information so that they are hoping that the Navy will retrieve the object, which is presumed to be lying in about 70 feet of water off the Daytona Beach coastline, with plenty of coordinates for locating it."

(Stein, Becky; "Daytona Beach MiniTidal wave," Louisiana Mounds Society Newsletter, no. 52, p. 2, October 1, 1992.

Comment. With all the military and space-vehicle tracking equipment in the area, someone must know more about this event.

From Science Frontiers #84, NOV-DEC 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss