Nature never fails to amaze us with its incredible transformations. One such phenomenon that leaves us mesmerized is the formation of cross seas or waves that create a grid-like pattern on the water’s surface.

These extraordinary grids are formed when two sets of wave systems intersect at angles greater than 45 degrees, or when wind and swell push the waves in different directions. Although these grids may look beautiful, they can be extremely dangerous for swimmers and ships.

Beneath the surface of this breathtaking sight lies treacherous currents that can wreck ships and pose a threat to people in the water. The chessboard-like patterns make navigation extremely challenging. In fact, many boating accidents and shipwrecks are believed to be caused by cross seas.

According to the European Space Agency, these conditions are quite common in the ocean. They occur when a windsea and a swell, or two swell systems, coexist. In a 2004 study, it was found that a significant proportion of ship accidents happened in crossing sea states.

A place where this phenomenon is particularly common is along the western coast of France, near the Isle Rhe. However, it is extremely dangerous to enter the water when cross seas occur. Tourists, instead, have the opportunity to witness this incredible sight from a lighthouse on the western part of the island.

To learn more about this amazing natural phenomenon, watch the video below.

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