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This picture is currently being spread virally:

Two bodies of water joining

Some Muslims were saying that this is mentioned in the Quran where it is said:

He has set free the two seas meeting together. There is a barrier between them. They do not transgress. (Quran, 55:19-20)

and

He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter. And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition. (Quran, 25:53)

My question is, is this claim true? Is the phenomena real? If so, is it common?

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I don't think I can make this an answer without finding the image source, but this looks an awful lot like an unremarkable reef fringe: I can see sub-surface features in the lighter water and the white water is consistent with deep water hitting a suddenly shallower reef. IOW, there're lots of places that look like this and they have nothing to do with the water content. –  Larry OBrien Jan 31 '12 at 1:15
    
It looks like the wake of a large moderately fast moving ship. –  user5930 Jan 31 '12 at 3:29
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So it is the aurora borealis a miracle? It is a solar eclipse a miracle? It is the <absolutely-natural-but-rarely-seen-by-the-average-street-person phenomenon> a miracle? –  nico Jan 31 '12 at 6:38
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@Believer: meh, "miracolous" predictions are just a matter of chance. How many other things have been said that have not become true? You know, our brains are very good at keeping track of the hits and forgetting the misses... –  nico Feb 1 '12 at 18:35
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Reminds me of thermocline. –  Brian M. Hunt Feb 1 '12 at 18:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 26 down vote accepted

Kent Smith, a.k.a Flickr user kentsmith9 claims to be the original photographer of this image.

He writes:

I thought this was the most unusual thing I saw on the Alaskan cruise in the water. These two bodies of water were merging in the middle of the Alaskan gulf and there was a foam developing only at their junction.

I thought this was an example of a Halocline described on Wikipedia. A few people have commented that a Halocline is more of a horizontal phenomenon and this is more vertically oriented.

I am pretty confident that what you are seeing is a result of the melting glaciers being composed of fresh water and the ocean has a higher percentage of salt causing the two bodies of water to have different densities and therefore makes it more difficult to mix. I'm told they will eventually mix given enough time.

People have asked me if I just happened to look out over the edge of the ship deck and see this. Actually I had been on the deck for quite some time when I noticed what appeared to be a shadow cast by clouds over the ocean about 5 miles in front of the ship. As we approached the shadow I realized it was something different. I took many shots up to the point I shot this one, but never posted them until a year after this image went viral. I really posted them to convince people I did not Photoshop this image. See the other shots here.

He goes on to describe the recent viral spread of this image.

While Kent Smith is apparently not an expert in oceanography, he proffers a plausible explanation, and doesn't claim that the two kinds of sea-water will never mix.

The question asks "is it common or can it be counted a miracle?"

This is a false dilemma. Phenomena can be both uncommon and have natural, rather than supernatural, explanations.

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and of course common things can still be miraculous to those who don't understand what causes them. Like primitive people marvel at the sun coming up every day, crops sprouting from the ground a few weeks after seeding, fresh and salt water seeming to exist next to each other without mixing, and proclaiming that only God can make such things happen. –  jwenting Jan 31 '12 at 6:43
    
I will accept this answer as it explains everything. As far as weather it is a miracle, I will leave it for our religious brothers :) –  client9 Jan 31 '12 at 12:18

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