CLAIM

Photographs show the place where two oceans meet in the Gulf of Alaska. 

RATING

 MISCAPTIONED

ORIGIN

Photographs purportedly showing "the place where two oceans meet" in the Gulf of Alaska have circulated online for several years. Although the images are real, there are several misconceptions about what they actually depict. 

The first photograph of this phenomenon to go viral was taken by Ken Bruland, a professor of ocean sciences at the University of California-Santa Cruz, during a research cruise in 2007: 

This photograph is frequently shared with the claim that it depicts a place where "two oceans meet," but that is not the case. Bruland explained that the picture actually captures what occurs when sediment-laden water from glacial rivers empties out into the ocean:

"Glacier rivers in the summertime are like buzzsaws eroding away the mountains there," Bruland said. "In the process, they lift up all this material — they call it glacial flour — that can be carried out."

Once these glacial rivers pour out into the larger body of water, theyre picked up by ocean currents, moving east to west, and begin to circulate there. This is one of the primary methods that iron — found in the clay and sediment of the glacial runoff — is transported to iron-deprived regions in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska.

Photographer Kent Smith captured another amazing image of the "place where two oceans meet" during a similar cruise in 2010: