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Undertow (wave action): Wikis


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Example of an undertow on Nantucket

Undertow is a strong subsurface flow of water returning seaward from shore, often as result of wave action. It can result in drownings when it pulls swimmers away from shore and into breaking waves that can submerge even strong swimmers. This type of shore current also plays a role in material deposition.[1]

Undertows are below surface rushes of water returning to sea after coming ashore as breaking waves. If there is an area under the waves, such as a break in a sandbar, where water can flow back out to sea more easily, a narrow rip current can form. If there is no weak point in the surf, then the water flows back out to sea under the waves, forming an undertow.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Bulletin, Volume 7 Bulletin, Illinois State Geological Survey page 32,33 Illinois State Geological Survey University of Illinois, 1908 Original from Harvard University
  2. ^ [1] What is an undertow and a ripe tide? Jason Goodman, M.I.T.


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