Exploration of the Atlantic Ocean helped discover black holes on Earth

The phenomenon of black holes in space has long remained just a bare theory. It wasn't until the late 1950s and early 1960s that scientists applied the theory of relativity to these mathematical oddities. After decades of research and calculation, black holes were accepted as true. However, no one expected to find them right here on Earth.

That all changed when scientists at ETH Zurich and the University of Miami discovered what could reasonably be called black holes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Mathematically, they are absolutely similar to black holes in space and have the same characteristics: everything that turns out to be near them can no longer leave, including water. These giant rotating water vortices are up to 140 km in diameter and can drift across the ocean for several months.

Despite a similar nature, unlike the frightening cosmic black holes, ocean vortices may even be beneficial: they help spread warm and salty waters, as well as microorganisms throughout the ocean. At the same time, they pick up various harmful substances, such as oil or plastic. And since the vortices do not lose a drop of water during their hikes, they transfer everything they have collected to a new place.

Because of their unique characteristics, ocean black holes can help scientists and mathematicians learn more about spatial black holes.