Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Māʻalaea Bay on Maui’s southern shore, an area that is known for its large waves.
Two of Maui’s most iconic waves, known as “Freight Trains” and “Jaws,” are famous among surfers. While Freight Trains is considered one of the fastest surfable waves in the world, Jaws is known for big-wave surfing.
“The large waves, or swells, are typically generated in the southern hemisphere during winter, when large storms brew in the southern Pacific Ocean,” reports NASA.
“The waves can travel thousands of miles, crossing the equator and eventually reaching Maui’s southern shore, where it is summer. But the waves can lose energy along the way as they encounter numerous island chains in the South Pacific.”
“The foam produced by breaking waves shows up in satellite images as a white band close to the shore.”
The image was captured on October 3, 2018 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. A small amount of foam is visible near the harbor. According to NASA, theses late season waves were likely produced by Hurricane Walaka, a category-4 storm centered about 750 miles west of Māʻalaea.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer