Incredible footage shows breathtaking 'underwater waterfall' optical illusion

Incredible footage shows breathtaking 'underwater waterfall' optical illusion

Though it may seem that the world is becoming ever more industrialised and urban the further we move into the 21st century, we can still take a small comfort in the natural beauty planet Earth has to offer. There are the luscious parts of jungle terrain in South America and Asia, the stunning mountain ranges of Europe, and the breathtaking areas of Savannah wildlife in Africa.

Recently, though, all those things were trumped by footage of a so-called underwater waterfall in Le Morne, Mauritius.

 

In a series of beautiful aerial shots, the waterfall - which is actually an optical illusion - was captured in all its beauty. You can see from these pictures the contrast between the lighter blue water that's closest to the surface and the deeper blue patches where the ocean is much deeper, and how one seems to flow downwards into the other.

You can see footage of the waterfall in action below:

Of course, this isn't really an underwater waterfall.

The phenomenon is actually caused by the movement of sand and silt on the underwater cliffs that surround the island coast of Mauritius. The drop off from the land's edge to the ocean floor is thousands of meters deep, and this - coupled with the motion of the waves against the shore - causes material along the slope downwards to be pulled towards the ocean bottom. This movement gives the appearance of water moving down, hence the waterfall illusion.

Plus, because the waves are constantly dragging in more sand and silt, it's likely that the phenomenon will continue happening for thousands of years - or perhaps even indefinitely.