In honor of the Tres Pescadores' some-would-say-heroic fight to survive during nine months adrift at sea, we're taking a gander at another cause of bizarre oceanic disasters (besides "running out of gas and getting lost," as the Pescadores phenomenon is known) -- rogue waves. (Thanks to Damn Interesting for the link.) Historically thought of as little more than tall tales and the stuff of fantastical sea shanties, reports of rogue waves are being taken more seriously these days, and are thought to be responsible for at least a handful of ship sinkings every year. And what frightening sinkings they must be:
So what causes rogue waves? According to this article, "one theory under investigation cites 'constructive interference,' which is a result of several smaller waves overlapping in phase, combining to produce one massive wave." But that's just one theory; nobody knows for sure.