Strange waves rippled around the world, and nobody knows why

Instruments picked up the seismic waves more than 10,000 miles away—but bizarrely, nobody felt them.

On the morning of November 11, just before 9:30 UT, a mysterious rumble rolled around the world.

The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away.

© NGP, Content may not reflect National Geographic’s current map policy.

These waves didn’t just zip by; they rang for more than 20 minutes. And yet, it seems, no human felt them.

Only one person noticed the odd signal on the U.S. Geological Survey’s real-time seismogram displays. An earthquake enthusiast who uses the handle @matarikipax saw the curious zigzags and posted images of them to Twitter. That small action kicked off another ripple of sorts, as researchers around the world attempted to suss out the source of the waves. Was it a meteor strike? A submarine volcano eruption? An ancient sea monster rising from the deep?

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it,” says Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University who specializes in unusual earthquakes.

“It doesn’t mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic,” he notes. Yet many features of the waves are remarkably weird—from their surprisingly monotone, low-frequency “ring” to their global spread. And researchers are still chasing down the geologic conundrum.

Why are the low-frequency waves so weird?

In a normal earthquake, the built-up tensions in Earth’s crust release with a jolt in mere seconds. This sends out a series of waves known as a “wave train” that radiates from the point of the rupture, explains Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton.

The fastest-traveling signals are Primary waves, or P-waves, which are compression waves that move in bunches, like what happens to an extended slinky that gets suddenly pushed at one end. Next come the secondary waves, or S-waves, which have more of a side-to-side motion. Both of these so-called body waves have relatively high frequencies, Hicks says, “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.”

Earthquakes 101 Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with enough force to bring buildings down. Find out what causes  earthquakes, why they’re so deadly, and what’s being done to help buildings sustain their hits.

Finally, chugging along at the end come slow, long-period surface waves, which are similar to the strange signals that rolled out from Mayotte. For intense earthquakes, these surface waves can zip around the planet multiple times, ringing Earth like a bell, Hicks says.

However, there was no big earthquake kicking off the recent slow waves. Adding to the weirdness, Mayotte’s mystery waves are what scientists call monochromatic. Most earthquakes send out waves with a slew of different frequencies, but Mayotte’s signal was a clean zigzag dominated by one type of wave that took a steady 17 seconds to repeat.

“It’s like you have colored glasses and [are] just seeing red or something,” says Anthony Lomax, an independent seismology consultant.

Mayotte’s volcanic roots

Based on the scientific sleuthing done so far, the tremors seem to be related to a seismic swarm that’s gripped Mayotte since last May. Hundreds of quakes have rattled the small nation during that time, most radiating from around 31 miles offshore, just east of the odd ringing. The majority were minor trembles, but the largest clocked in at magnitude 5.8 on May 15, the mightiest in the island’s recorded history. Yet the frequency of these shakes has declined in recent months—and no traditional quakes rumbled there when the mystery waves began on November 11.

The French Geological Survey (BRGM) is closely monitoring the recent shaking, and it suggests that a new center of volcanic activity may be developing off the coast. Mayotte was formed from volcanism, but its geologic beasts haven’t erupted in over 4,000 years. Instead, BRGM’s analysis suggests that this new activity may point to magmatic movement offshore—miles from the coast under thousands of feet of water. Though this is good news for the island inhabitants, it’s irksome for geologists, since it’s an area that hasn’t been studied in detail.

“The location of the swarm is on the edge of the [geological] maps we have,” says Nicolas Taillefer, head of the seismic and volcanic risk unit at BRGM. “There are a lot things we don’t know.” And as for the November 11 mystery wave, he says, “it’s something quite new in the signals on our stations.”

Motion in the ocean

Since mid-July, GPS stations on the island have tracked it sliding more than 2.4 inches to the east and 1.2 inches to the south, according data from Institut National de L’information Géographique et Forestière. Using these measurements, Pierre Briole of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris estimated that a magma body that measures about a third of a cubic mile is squishing its way through the subsurface near Mayotte.

The early period of rumbling was also overprinted with what seemed to be the P- and S- waves of tiny tremors, explains Lomax, who spotted the faint pings by filtering out the low-frequency signals. Such pings are commonly associated with magma moving and fracturing rock as it squirts through the crust. But even those signals were a little strange, says Helen Robinson, a Ph.D. candidate in applied volcanology at the University of Glasgow.

“They’re too nice; they’re too perfect to be nature,” she jokes, although she quickly adds that an industrial source is impossible, since no wind farms or drilling are taking place in the deep waters off Mayotte’s shores.

Ekström thinks that the events on the morning of November 11 actually did begin with an earthquake of sorts equivalent to a magnitude 5 temblor. It passed by largely unnoticed, he suggests, because it was what’s known as a slow earthquake. These quakes are quieter than their speedy cousins since they come from a gradual release of stress that can stretch over minutes, hours, or even days.

“The same deformation happens, but it doesn’t happen as a jolt,” Ekström says.

These slow types of quakes are often associated with volcanic activity. At the Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a similar slow earthquake and low-frequency waves were linked with a magma chamber collapsing. Slow quakes were also stunningly frequent during the most recent fiery run of Kilauea in Hawaii, which produced nearly 60 of these events between May and the end of July, sending seismic waves around the world.

Assembling the geologic puzzle

So what is actually causing the super-slow vibrations at Mayotte? A submarine eruption could produce these low rumblings, but evidence for such an event has yet to materialize.

Most current guesses revolve around resonance in a magma chamber, triggered by some type of subsurface shift or chamber collapse. The resonance itself can be any type of rhythmic motion, like sloshing of the molten rock, or a pressure wave ricocheting through the magma body, Ekström explains. Studying the intricate features of the seismic waves could yield clues to the size and shape of the molten material lurking below.

It is very difficult, really, to say what the cause is and whether anyone’s theories are correct.

Helen Robinson, University of Glasgow

“It’s like a music instrument,” says Jean-Paul Ampuero, a seismologist at the Université Côte d’Azur in France. “The notes of a music instrument—whether it’s grave or very pitchy—depends on the size of the instrument.”

The signal’s odd uniformity could be due, in part, to the surrounding rocks and sediments, Lomax adds. Perhaps the local geology is filtering the sounds and only letting this single 17-second wave period escape.

Robinson agrees with this idea, noting that the geology here is extremely complex. Mayotte sits in a region crisscrossed by ancient faults—including fracture zones from the final breakup of the southern supercontinent Gondwana. What’s more, the underlying crust is somewhat transitional, shifting between the thick continental crusts and the thinner oceanic crusts. Perhaps this complexity drives the simplicity of the escaping waves, Robinson says.

Secrets of the sea

For now, though, the lack of data makes it tough to say more about the wiggly forms. Hicks’ preliminary models hinted that the waves emanated from subsurface inflation, rather than a magma chamber draining or collapsing. But with a little additional data, the model flipped and pointed to chamber deflation instead.

It also could be a bit of both, notes Robinson: “Some collapse mechanisms, you can get inflation and deflation occurring at the same time,” she says. Or sometimes they can alternate, pumping up and down like Earth’s fiery lungs.

“It is very difficult, really, to say what the cause is and whether anyone’s theories are correct—whether even what I’m saying has any relevance to the outcome of what’s going on,” Robinson says.

BRGM plans to do ocean bottom surveys to get more detailed information about the region and investigate the possibility of a submarine eruption. In the meantime, the seismic sleuthing continues with the data that’s available. Whether the cause is ordinary or extraordinary remains to be seen, Lomax says, but the science—and the fun—is in the chase.

“Depending on what field and what time in history, 99.9 percent of the time, it’s ordinary, or noise, or a mistake, and 0.1 percent, it’s something” he says. “But that’s just the way it goes. That’s the way it should go. That’s scientific advance.”


Six Top Geology Stories of 2014

Volcanic eruptions, killer quakes, giant waves, and how the ground shaped famous battles were among the most compelling stories of the year.

Volcano erupts in Iceland

Geology stories can shake the world–it is in their nature–and 2014 was true to form. There were notable jolts and rumbles, and some surprising shakeups above the ground as well. Here are six areas where Earth made big news, as reported in Scientific American during the past 12 months. You may have your own earthy stories that you think should be on this list. If you do, please list them in the comments section below. Or email them to me at

Let the rumbling begin:

1. EARTHQUAKES. April was a fairly shaky month for the planet. A quake 200 miles from Mexico City in April tested the alert system for the hemisphere’s largest metropolis.  Another April shakeup, in Chile and registering just over magnitude 8, revealed to scientists that the threat of an even larger earthquake looms over the country. Evidence of a rare supersonic quake was discovered in Kamchatka. And a study found that strange glowing lights sometimes accompany shaking along rifts in the planet’s crust.

2. VOLCANOES. A deadly eruption in Japan caught a lot of unfortunate people by surpise, because it came from a shallow explosion of steam that is almost impossible to predict.  In Hawaii, the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, rumbled back to lifewith some small quakes after a long quiet period. But the biggest volcano news was the eruption in late August of Iceland’s Baroarbunga volcano. which surprised scientists by pumping out huge amounts of sulphur, rather than the expected giant ash cloud.

3. LEGAL TREMORS. In November, an Italian appeals court cleared six seismologists of manslaughter,  reversing convictions and saying they were not responsible for lulling people into a false sense of security before a killer 2009 quake.

4. WAVES. Hawaii faces a more dangerous tsunami risk that previously thought, and officials are redrawing evacuation zones, scientists said at an October geology meeting.

5. SLIDES. After the Oso mudslide in Washington State, which carried away two dozen houses, geologists examined how an old slide was reactivated by rain at the site, and how the danger might have been foreseen.

6. THE GEOLOGY OF WAR. This year marked the 70th anniversary of World War Two’s D-Day. Back in 1944 British divers risked their lives to collect sand samples from Normandy beaches as geologists tried to figure out whether the land could support heavy equipment brought ashore. 2014 was also the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. Ancient geology played an important role there. Millennia before the Blue and the Gray fought, molten magma rose in the area and hardened into high ground such as Cemetery Ridge, which gave Union soldiers on it an advantage over attacking Confederates.

Ambri liquid metal battery: Prototype deployment set for 2014.

November is a milestone month for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spinoff company Ambri, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Marlborough, Massachusetts, on November 7 marked its new production facility. Ambri is targeting its liquid metal battery technology for use in the electricity grid. The company believes they have an electricity storage solution that will change the way electric grids are operated worldwide. Ambri’s liquid metal battery technology breaks away from other storage options; each cell consists of three self-separating liquid layers, two metals and a salt, that float on top of each other based on density differences and immiscibility, said Ambri. The system operates at elevated temperature maintained by self-heating during charging and discharging.Ambri liquid metal battery: Prototype deployment set for 2014

Cells are stacked into refrigerator-sized modules, placed into a 40-foot shipping container rated at 500 kW and 2 MWh storage capacity. For more , more systems can be deployed together side by side. The new production facility brings the team closer to their ultimate goals. “Here, we will demonstrate that Ambri’s Liquid Metal Batteries can be produced at comparatively low capital cost, and make large-scale  a practical reality,” said Phil Giudice, CEO of Ambri.

Ambri’s new factory will produce the company’s first prototype systems for deployment in 2014 and 2015. Ambri said it plans to commission its first full-scale manufacturing facility in 2015. Already, plans are under way for Ambri’s prototype systems produced in Marlborough to be installed at the Joint Base Cape Cod, Ambri’s system is to enable the base to reduce electricity costs but at the same time improve power quality and grid resiliency. Ambri also plans to deploy an energy storage system in Hawaii next year. Consumers in Hawaii experience high electricity prices with a system based primarily on diesel fuel. Wind and solar resources paired with viable energy storage represent a brighter renewable energy outlook. “As Hawaii transitions from an oil-based electricity system to one fueled by 70 percent clean energy, the Energy Excelerator is committed to funding the world’s best innovation needed to get us there,” said Dawn Lippert, senior manager of the Hawaii Energy Excelerator.

Ambri said it uses inexpensive materials, which keeps costs down; the team noted that the simplicity of the system also accommodates manufacturing at low costs. With the large cell design, fewer wires and connections are needed, reducing, they said, the number of potential points of failure.

The company was founded In 2010, with the goal of commercializing the liquid metal  which had its development roots at MIT in the lab of Professor Donald Sadoway.

California coastline hosts ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

Tons of plastic have accumulated in an area between Hawaii and California, and the convergence of currents swirls the trash into what is now known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Bottle caps, trash bags and broken plastic are now part of the diet of many birds and sea creatures around the world.

It’s very depressing, initially, to realize the extent of the problem,” said Captain Charles Moore, founder of Alagalita Marine Research Institute.

One of the largest concentrations of marine debris is in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Hawaii and California. It’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Moore accidentally found the garbage patch in 1997 while sailing through a gyre, where ocean currents circulate and accumulate trash.

It’s a piece here, a piece there. It’s not a solid island. In general what we see is a soup of plastic. Not really an island of plastic,” said Moore.

Next year, Captain Moore is planning to spend a month at the Garbage Patch to research its effects on the food chain.

It is difficult to see the collection of trash from above because it’s made up of pieces of plastic the size of a finger nail. Researchers believe that there could be 2 million of these little pieces of plastic per square mile.

Millions of creatures are dying every year, tangled in plastic,” said Moore.

It’s not just the wildlife that is being fooled into eating this stuff and getting tangled in it, it’s we ourselves that are changing our biological being with these chemicals in this hyper-consumptive world that we live in,” Moore added.

Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego have also been trying to figure out how the marine debris is changing the world. A Scripps study estimated that fish in the intermediate ocean depths of the North Pacific Ocean ingest plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

Cleaning up the mess that’s already been made is likely impossible, but experts believe the problem could potentially be saved with a radical change in economic and social culture.

When you hear politicians talk about growth, you would think it’s one of the 10 Commandments,” said Moore.

Our very being is consumers of products. This defines us these days. The type of car we have, the type of shoes we wear. The type of hair gel we do. The band of clothing we have. This is how we get our identity,” Moore added.

Moore argues that consumption habits and our creature comforts have led to an earth shattering problem: where to put all of the trash we generate.

We have to really redefine ourselves as human beings, as something other than a consumer in order to beat this problem,” said Moore.

New shorelines created of trash are appearing in all oceans, and even in America’s Great Lakes.

As world economies continue to thrive on mass consumption, Captain Moore will continue to sail and study the plastic oceans.

Hubble Spots Odd Asteroid With Six Tails.

Silly asteroid, tails are for comets! Around five months ago, an asteroid called P/2013 P5 was seen to be kicking off dust, making it look like it had a tail like a comet. Use of more detailed imaging would show that the asteroid actually has an unprecedented six tails.

In August, researchers had noticed P/2013 P5, an asteroid with a nucleus 1400 feet (427 meters) long, looked somewhat blurred through the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). Traditionally, asteroids appear as a sharp point of light, and this anomaly piqued the curiosity of the researchers. They figured that it might have begun rotating extremely quickly, causing it to kick off some of its surface dust and look like a comet.

On September 10, the team used the Hubble Space Telescope to get more detailed images of the oddball asteroid. The results completely dumbfounded the researchers: the asteroid had six tails that jut out in all directions, like spokes on a bicycle wheel! Even more amazing was the fact that when the team looked at it again less than two weeks later, the tails looked completely different.

After extensive analysis, it was determined that the tails are most likely the byproducts from six different dust-ejection events that were pulled out like tails by solar radiation pressure. That pressure is also believed to be what caused the asteroid to begin spinning so quickly in the first place, in a phenomenon known as radiation torque. If an asteroid is spinning too fast, its small amount of gravity is not enough to hold itself together and the dust goes flying off. Because the dust pattern does not suggest that a lot of material was ejected from the asteroid at once, the researchers are currently discounting the idea that these tails are the products of a collision. The results were published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

So far, only a small percentage of its mass has been sloughed off into the tails, but this could be the beginning of the end for the asteroid. Future analysis will show if the dust is being ejected around the asteroid’s equator, which will be the best evidence that the asteroid is in the process of a rotational breakup.

While this is the first six-tailed asteroid that has ever been documented, researchers are confident that if there is one, there are probably many more waiting to be discovered.

– See more at:

Massive Toxic Japanese Tsunami Island of Trash Headed Toward US.

As our numerous commentaries on Fukushima and its perilous implications to life on planet earth have indicated, the nuclear industry is high-risk.  Anti-nuclear advocate Harvey Wasserman warned again of the nuclear power threat in a BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary posted today, “Pro-Nuke Scientists Should Go to Fukushima.”  

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Now The Independent UK reports that an island of trash, some of it presumed toxic from the Fukushima radiation leaks, is floating across the Pacific, headed toward North America:

An enormous floating island of debris from Japan’s 2011 tsunami is drifting towards the coast of America, bringing with it over one million tons of junk that would cover an area the size of Texas.

The most concentrated stretch – dubbed the “toxic monster” … – is currently around 1,700 miles off the coast, sitting between Hawaii and California, but several million tons of additional debris remains scattered across the Pacific.

If the rubbish were to continue to fuse, the combined area of the floating junkyard would be greater than that of the United States, and could theoretically weigh up to five million tons.

Even accounting for a bit of sensationalism in the projected size of the giant bobbing debris field, it is widely assumed that a significant percentage of the trash has essentially been soaked in radioactive water.  In short, more radiation fallout from Fukushima is likely headed our way, and if so in gigantic fashion.

According to The Independent, it may still be years before the colossal flotsam island reaches North America, but the newspaper notes:

Some of the debris may have already crossed the [Pacific], however, with reports of Japanese fishing vessels washing up on the shores of Canada as long ago as winter 2011. If that proves to be the case, the levels of toxic junk already littering US beaches is likely to be high.

This is the type of radiation whose long term impact is still unknown.  But one can safely say, it is not something that improves the health of Mother Earth or the people who will come into contact with it.  In this case, individuals on the West Coast of North America are potentially endangered by the breakdown of a nuclear power plant in Japan.

When the corporate world talks about globalization, this is not the kind of interconnectedness that they want people to think about: a noxious undulating junkyard floating toward us.

Discovered: the galaxy that’s so far away we’re seeing it as it was 13 billion years ago

Scientists detected z8-GND-5296 with help of Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Telescope in Hawaii.

Astronomers have detected the furthest known galaxy in the Universe which is more than 13 billion light years away on the very edge of space.

Because of the time it takes for its light to reach Earth, the galaxy is seen today as it was just 700 million years after the Big Bang – the primordial event that created the Universe some 13.8 billion years ago.

Scientists detected the galaxy – known as z8-GND-5296 – with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope parked in geostationary orbit and the Keck Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

They searched a library of about 100,000 of the most distant galaxies before finding that one of them could be accurately positioned in space by analysing the infrared light it had emitted.

A spectroscopic analysis of the galaxy’s wavelength showed how much it has shifted to the red end of the spectrum. This “redshift”, and the known expansion velocity of the Universe, was used to measure the galaxy’s precise distance from Earth.

“What makes this galaxy unique, compare to other such discoveries, is the spectroscopic confirmation of its distance,” said Bahran Mobasher of the University of California, Riverside and a member of the research team.

“By observing a galaxy that far back in time, we can study the earliest formation of galaxies. By comparing properties of galaxies at different distances, we can explore the evolution of galaxies throughout the age of the Universe,” Dr Mobasher said.

At this particular point in its early history,  the z8-GND-5296 galaxy was producing new stars at a rate of about 300 a year, which is about 100 times faster than our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

There is only one other known object to be further away in space – a massive star that had exploded some 70 million years earlier. The period before this is known as the “cosmic dark ages” because so little is known about it.

Astronomers believe they are close to finding the first galaxies that were probably responsible for the transition from an opaque Universe, when much of its hydrogen was neutral, to a translucent Universe, when the hydrogen became ionised – called the Era of Re-ionisation.

Steven Finkelstein of the University of Texas at Austin, who led the project, said the new galaxy is in the same region of the sky as the previous record holder.

“So we’re learning something about the distant universe. There are way more regions of very high star formation than we previously thought. There must be a decent number of them if we happen to find two in the same area of the sky,” Dr Finkelstein said.

Scientists find ‘lonely’ floating planet without a star.

Reuters / Russell Cheyne

Reuters / Russell Cheyne

“We have never before seen an object free-floating in space that looks like this. It has all the characteristics of young planets found around other stars, but it is drifting out there all alone,” said Michael Liu, research team leader at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

The planet, now known as PSO J318.5-22 has a mass roughly six times that of Jupiter and was formed only 12 million years ago. While that sounds ancient, in planetary terms it is considered a mere infant. 

“I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do,” Liu said. 

During the past decade, extrasolar planets have been discovered at an incredible pace, with about a thousand found by indirect methods such as wobbling or dimming of their host stars induced by the planet. However, only a handful of planets have been directly imaged, all of which are around young stars (less than 200 million years old). PSO J318.5-22 is one of the lowest-mass free-floating objects known, perhaps the very lowest. 

Hundreds of extrasolar planets have been discovered since the mid-1990s. However, they are usually detected through indirect methods that rely on them orbiting a sun – the techniques measure a drop in the transmission of light as a planet passes in front of its star. Only a handful of them were directly imaged. 

AFP Photo / Ye Aung Thu

AFP Photo / Ye Aung Thu

However, this ‘lonely planet’ was accidently mapped as the team searched for brown dwarfs – a type of ‘sub-stellar’ object which emits a faint orangey-red glow to the human eye. The team was using the Pan-STARRS 1 wide-field survey telescope located on the Haleakala volcano of Hawaii’s Maui island. 

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Observations showed that while the planet indeed has similar attributes to that of a gas giant orbiting a star, it lacked its own. It further confirmed that it was not a brown dwarf, but a young planet, which will greatly benefit those seeking to observe it; as most planets with the same properties orbit young stars (less than 200 million years old) which tend to be extremely bright. 

Its most unique aspect is its similar mass, color, and energy output to directly imaged planets, the press release on the university’s website says.

71% of Those Who Drank Coconut Water Lowered Their Blood Pressure.

Story at-a-glance

  • Water from young, immature coconuts offers a long and growing list of health benefits, distinct from the benefits of its counterpart, coconut oil
  • Coconut water is a powerhouse of natural electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and is low in sugar, but pleasantly sweet
  • It’s great for post-exercise rehydration, but also has anti-inflammatory properties, protects your heart and urinary tract, is a digestive tonic, improves your skin and eyes, supports good immune function, and can even help balance your blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Coconut water is the richest dietary source of cytokinins, plant hormones that have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-thrombolytic benefits in humans
  • Because coconut water is isotonic and sterile (upon coming out of the coconut), it is very similar to blood plasma and has been used intravenously in emergency situations for more than 60 years.
  • Coconut Water

I have long been a fan of coconut oil as one of the most health promoting of all plant-based fats.

I have spent nearly 15 winters in Hawaii where fresh coconuts off the tree are readily available.

Coconut oil comes from the “meat” of the coconut.

But today, I’d like to share a little information about coconut oil’s best friend:coconut water.

If you’ve ever picked up a fresh coconut in the grocery store and shaken it, you’ve heard the liquid sloshing inside—this is coconut water.

Both coconut water and coconut milk come from coconuts, but they are not the same thing.

Coconut Milk Versus Coconut Water

Coconut milk, known in Malaysia and Indonesia as “santan” and as “gata” in the Philippines, is a thick liquid made by grinding up coconut meat and then diluting it with plain water. Coconut milk is a rich source of healthy fat, protein, and energy and is often used in cooking, especially in Asian cuisine.

Coconut milk is comprised of about 50 percent fat/protein and 50 percent water, and this is what you commonly see in cans in the Asian section of your grocery store.

Coconut water, on the other hand, is a clear, light, refreshing liquid (95 percent water) extracted from young, green coconuts that have not reached maturity. These look much different than the brown hairy ones you commonly see in the produce section—they are white, smooth, and pointed on one end, flat on the other.

When you can find them, young coconuts will be in the refrigerated produce section because they are perishable.

Coconut water is the liquid part of the endosperm (kernel) of the coconut fruit. When coconuts are immature, the endosperm is semisolid and jelly-like. As the coconut matures, the endosperm becomes more solid and fibrous, developing into the firmer coconut meat with which you are familiar. As the coconut matures, the water inside is replaced by more coconut “meat” and air, so it’s best to harvest the water when the coconut is young.

It turns out that BOTH the “meat” and the liquid of coconuts are nutritional powerhouses!

“Dew from the Heavens”

Hawaiians call coconut water “noelani,” which means “dew from the heavens.” Many tropical cultures prize coconut water above all other beverages due to its rehydrating and health renewing properties. Not only is coconut water good for you, it’s good for plants too, having been traditionally used as a growth supplement in plant propagation. As a result of the rich volcanic soils and mineral-rich seawater in which coconut palms grow, coconut water’s nutritional profile is very impressive.

Coconut water is:

  • Rich in natural vitamins (especially the B vitamins), minerals, and trace elements (including zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, and manganese). Vitamins are necessary for the enzymatic reactions your cells need in order to function.
  • Full of amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
  • Rich source of electrolytes and natural salts, especially potassium and magnesium.
  • Light, low calorie and nearly fat-free, as well as low in sugar but pleasantly sweet—contains about a fifth of the sugar of other fruit juices, like apple or grape juice, as well as containing a little fiber to moderate absorption.
  • Rich in cytokinins, or plant hormones, which have anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-thrombolytic effects in humans.

Coconut water also has an alkalizing effect on your body, which can help correct the cumulative effects of acidifying foods that make up most diets today. For a complete nutritional profile, refer to the tables at the Coconut Research Center site. The list of health benefits of coconut water is impressive, and growing by leaps and bounds with each new scientific study.

Coconut Water’s Abundance of Health Benefits

Addressing every one of these areas is beyond the scope of one article, but I would like to touch on a few of the most impressive areas where coconut water may give your health a boost. According to Bruce Fife, author of Coconut Water for Health and Healing and one of the leading coconut experts, scientific research and clinical observation have shown coconut water to have the following broad-spanning health benefits:

Rehydration (water and electrolytes) Increased exercise performance Cardioprotective (rich in potassium and magnesium); helps regulate blood pressure, improve circulation, reduces plaque formation
Anti-inflammatory; reduces swelling in hands and feet Prevents abnormal blood clotting Aids in kidney function (preventing and dissolving kidney stones, UTI remedy)
Helps balance blood glucose and insulin levels Digestive tonic (rich in enzymes); feeds friendly gut flora Diarrhea andconstipation remedy
Anti-aging properties Enhances skin health (elasticity, age spots, wrinkles), improves wound healing Enhances eye health (cataracts, glaucoma)
Supports good immune function; antimicrobial (contains monolaurin) Helps prevent osteoporosis Anti-cancer properties

Perfect Electrolyte Balance from Mother Nature

Electrolytes are inorganic compounds that become ions in solution and have the capacity to conduct electricity. They are important for electrical signaling—and of course your brain, heart, muscles and nervous system are all bioelectrical systems. Your cells use electrolytes to maintain voltage across their membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.

Things like water balance and blood pH depend on your body’s proper electrolyte balance, and you can suffer severe medical problems if your electrolytes fall out of balance.

Fresh coconut water is one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes and can be used to prevent dehydration from strenuous exercise, vomiting, or diarrhea. You lose electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) when you sweat, which must be replenished with food and water intake. Because coconut water naturally contains so many electrolytes, it’s been called “Nature’s Gatorade.”

Coconut water has five electrolytes your body needs:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function; coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorous: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

The ONLY “Sports Drink” I Recommend

For most average exercisers and athletes, sports drinks are not only a waste of your money, but more importantly, can actually worsen the health of most who use them. Less than one percent of those who use sports drinks actually benefit from them. Most sports drinks are loaded with things you DON’T want, like refined sugars, artificial colors and chemicals, none of which are in natural coconut water.

If you exercise for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity, fresh, pure water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated. It’s only when you’ve been exercising for longer periods, such as for more than 60 minutes, or in the heat, or at extreme intensity levels, where you are sweating profusely, that you may need something more than water to replenish your body.

Besides plain water, coconut water is one of the best and safest option to rehydrate yourself after a strenuous workout. If you need the electrolytes, it will provide them. If you don’t need them, then it certainly won’t hurt you. And as you’re learning, coconut water has a mountain of other health benefits in addition to rehydration, which no commercial sports drink in the world can provide. Depending on how much salt you’ve lost through sweating, you might even add a tiny pinch of natural Himalayan salt to your glass of coconut water.

One study in 2007 found sodium-enriched coconut water to be as effective as commercial sports drinks for whole body rehydration after exercise, with less stomach upset.

Coconut water is sterile when it comes out of the coconut, and extremely similar in composition to human blood plasma. These unique properties make it so completely compatible with the human body that it can be infused intravenously into your bloodstream. Physicians have actually used coconut water successfully as an IV fluid for more than 60 years, especially in remote regions of the world where medical supplies are limited and it has saved many lives. You can appreciate how safe and beneficial this natural beverage is, if it can be used intravenously!

Cytokinins: Secret Fountain of Youth Revealed!

Possibly the most important nutritional constituent in coconut water—more beneficial than the electrolytes vitamins and minerals and amino acids—is something you’ve likely never even heard of: cytokinins.

Cytokinins are phytohormones, or plant hormones. These hormones regulate the growth, development, and aging of a plant. Coconut water has been an important horticultural resource, used in the propagation of several plants, including orchids and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs. The cytokinins found in coconut water support cell division, and thus promote rapid growth.

But what does this have to do with humans?

Cytokinins have actually been found to exert an anti-aging effect on human cells and tissues. When human cells are exposed to cytokinins, aging slows down considerably. Cells treated with cytokinins don’t undergo the normal degenerative changes, so they don’t “act their age.” Researchers have suggested that if you consume a diet rich in cytokinins, you may experience anti-aging effects and have less risk for degenerative and age-related diseases. And coconut water is the richest natural dietary source of cytokinins.

Cytokinins have also been found to have anti-thrombolytic properties so may lower your risk for blood clots. But coconut’s heart benefits don’t stop there. They have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects.

According to Bruce Fife:

“In regulating cell growth, cytokinins prevent the mistakes that may lead to the development of cancer. Normal cells are kept healthy while cancerous cells are programmed to die, preventing them from growing and spreading. Subsequently, the anti-cancer effects of cytokinins have been well documented.”


Benefits for Your Heart and Urinary Tract

High levels of mineral ions, especially potassium, in coconut water have been found to help prevent heart attacks. And coconut water has been found to have blood pressure benefits. In one study, 71 percent of people who drank coconut water experienced lower blood pressures.

Similar benefits have been found if you have problems with urinary stones. Dr. Eugenio Macalalag, director of the urology department of the Chinese General Hospital in the Philippines, reported that coconut water was effective in treating his patient’s kidney and urethral stones. He reported that his patients who drank coconut water two to three times a week experienced a significant reduction in stone size and expulsion, eliminating their need for surgery.

Pesticide, Chemical and Environmental Considerations

The most common variety of coconut being grown today for harvesting coconut water is a high-water yield dwarf hybrid variety that CAN be heavily fertilized and sprayed with pesticides. This makes it very important for you to select organic coconut water and organic fresh coconuts.

It is important to make sure the coconuts and coconut products you purchase are certified organic and sustainably raised. Regular coconut palms grow to be 80 to 100 feet tall, and because workers have to climb up and pick the coconuts, more manageable dwarf varieties have been cultivated that average about nine feet tall. There are environmental concerns as well, related to the intense market demand for coconuts and their products.

According to Josefine Staats, the founder of KULAU Coconut Water:

“Coconut palms are often cultivated in industrial-style monocultures geared towards efficiency. But plantation economies with the sole focus of maximizing their yield often severely damage fragile ecosystems. There are a few (who profit), but many others are left to deal with the ecological consequences.”

SO Much More Than a Sports Drink

Coconut water is one of Nature’s perfect foods—it is hard to say enough good things about it. It’s the perfect replacement for juice or soda. Please remember to read the label, to make sure it’s as pure and unprocessed as possible. Of course, drinking it fresh from the coconut, as opposed to bottled, is the ultimate choice.

I’d like to close with a quote from Jean Yong (et al), who published a comprehensive review of the potential impact on human health of this amazing natural elixir:

“The recent discovery of other medicinal values of coconut water signifies a good potential in improving human health. Better insights and understanding of the functions and properties of the individual components of coconut water will, therefore, help us to better utilize this marvelous and multidimensional liquid with special biological properties from nature.”

So next time you’re searching for a cool, refreshing after-workout beverage, crack open a coconut and experience its rejuvenation for yourself!.

5 Vital Prerequisites to Rocket Your Dream off the Ground.

What is more joyous in life than having a dream and knowing it’s possible?

The answer – going for it and making that dream your reality.

We’re going to share with you 5 vital prerequisites to support you to get your dream off the ground.


Do you have a dream? Do you know it’s possible to create/achieve it?

Most people get stopped right here – they don’t seriously entertain living their dream and/or they don’t believe it’s possible. So they pretty much kill their dream before it’s even had a chance to breathe.

1 – Allow yourself

Allow yourself to have a dream. Sounds simple right? And it is, but somehow in our modern society many of us have become constrained and suppressed, and focused primarily on working hard, toeing the line, doing what others expect of us, putting ourselves last after everything and everyone else, and making decisions based on fear – so much so that we’ve lost the ability to allow ourselves to follow what our hearts really want.

And here’s a HUGE truth that we’ve learnt first-hand… what your heart wants is  good for you in all respects. Your passions, what inspires you, what lights you up, what rocks your boat, what spins your wheels… those are the things that you need to pay most attention to. When you live from that passion and are driven by your dreams, you thrive, flourish, relax, laugh, smile and contribute. You become the best, most joyful and therefore healthy and happy version of yourself. That is the you that the world needs. That is the you that you need! You have to allow yourself to have what you most need.Self-denial has no place in our emerging world. If you’re going to have a happy and healthy life, and help others along the way, you need to help yourself first because when you thrive, everyone around you thrives.

Everyone has at least one dream, if not many dreams, for what their life can be like. The first step is to ALLOW yourself to release your dream, dig it out of wherever deep inside you it’s been buried. Commit now to being the Director of your own life. Take ownership for all areas of your life. No one else can stop you, only you can let others and circumstances block you from being who you are and doing what you love.

We had the dream to live on Waiheke Island and we did it. We dreamt of a journey through Thailand and we did it. We dreamt of a nomadic adventure to Hawaii and it happened. We dreamt of getting married in a tropical location and we did it. We dreamt of doing our first triathlon/duathlon and we did it. We dreamt of sharing our life changing adventures in books and publishing them onto the Amazon best seller list, and we did it. Those things all started with one defining moment, a moment of allowing. In a single moment of declaring a dream and acknowledging it’s possible, everything changes. If you give your dream air time and energy, it can grow.

You don’t need to know how it’s possible, you just have to believe it is. Every time we’ve created a big dream, we’ve literally never known exactly HOW that dream would be possible.  Like how the heck we’d go to Thailand to live for 3 months when we had jobs and commitments (dog, mortgage) in NZ, like how on earth we’d afford to go to Hawaii for 3 months with new businesses and a mortgage or like how we’d write and publish books when we had absolutely zero experience or knowledge to do so.

But you don’t need to know how, in order for the dream to take flight. You simply have to trust… which leads on to Prerequisite 2.

2 – Trust yourself

When you have a dream, there are always plenty of reasons to say no to yourself. You could come up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t, won’t or can’t follow your dream. But, if you trust yourself, you can make it happen. What do we mean by trust yourself?

Well, dreams aren’t random thoughts plucked from nowhere. They are unique to you. They are emotionally charged, heartfelt, passionate endeavours that come from somewhere within you. Which is the exact point of #2, you have to trust that feeling you get when your dream moves you and motivates you. Trust your gut instinct, intuition, your heart – no matter how radical your dream might seem.

All of us humans have become way too obsessed with our minds and we let our minds drive all our decisions. Our intuition is a very real 6th sense, equally if not more powerful than the mind. Our intuition tells us what direction is healthy and happiest for us to move in, and then we can use our minds as a brilliant tool to navigate in that direction. Over analysis causes paralysis and the mind has a great way of reasoning, rationalising, blocking and destroying dreams. Definitely use your mind, just don’t let your mind use you.

So, what do you instinctively feel is right for you? Trust and respect your inner knowing. Love yourself enough to take that feeling and hold onto it, protect it, let it guide you forward. Don’t disregard what drives you inside, don’t disregard who you know you really are and what you really want to do. That inner motivator for your dream is a very real part of the true you, it needs you to honour it and bring it into life. Don’t tell yourself you’re not good enough or you don’t deserve it or it’s not a priority. And most definitely do not tell yourself it’s not possible

Follow your inner compass!

If doubt is a killer for you, check out our Kick Doubt to the Curb workshop.

3 – Get clear on WHAT

What exactly is your dream? If you have undefined desires, how can those desires come to fruition? Getting clear on what your dream specifically is, is critical to creating it. That’s a no brainer!

Spend 10 minutes sitting quietly with yourself with pen and paper to write down anything that comes into your mind when you say:

  • “What do I dream of?”
  • “If I was being who I really am and doing what I really love, what would my life look like?”

Let me ask you:

  • What lifestyle inspires you?
  • What contribution do you want to make?
  • What hobbies, passions, job, business inspires you to express yourself?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • How do you want to live?
  • What environments do you thrive most in?
  • What do you want to create?

4 – Get clear on WHY

You have to have a big why. Your why is your motivator. In short, why do you want what you want? Why do you want that particular dream? Your “why” is what drives you, it will be what keeps you committed to taking action to create your dream, and it’s the energy that makes it happen. If your “why” is big enough you can create almost anything! Some people never quit, that’s because their “why” is really big and really juicy.


Write down why you want what you want. Never stop at the first answer that arises from your mind. Dig deeper to get the answer from your soul, from deep inside. It’s rarely about things, money, external circumstance. It’s usually always about the experience and the feeling you will get from having/living that experience. It’s the intangible inner state of happiness that really drives so many of us.

No external thing or place can ever make you happy. Happiness is an inner state that goes where you go, or not. You can thrive wherever you go in life, whatever you are doing – but not because of WHERE/WHAT but because of WHO you are being. Make choices about what you do and where you go that support you being who you really are, and naturally accentuate the true you.

For all our dreams, our “why” is always backed by our belief that if you’re not living a life you know you love, a dream you know you want, that you know is possible – then you’re robbing yourself of opportunity and you’re robbing the world of having you flying at your full potential and in your full happiness. The world needs all of us to be fully expressed – to be who we are and to do what we love.

If none of that sparks a why that is big enough for you, then check out what a nurse reported as the 5 most common regrets of people on their deathbeds, as reported by the Guardian in the UK. Take a moment to think seriously how this makes you feel…

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not what others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends more
  5. I wish I’d let myself be happier

Enough said, so on that note let’s move on to #5.

5 – Be aware of what stops you

If you’ve now stepped up and acknowledged your dream and you know it’s possible, you’ve allowed and trusted yourself, and defined your what and why, you may still fall victim to the biggest trap that keeps most people stuck.

You get stopped by your mind.

The human mind is incredibly capable of coming up with all the reasons why something can’t work, might not work, could go wrong, all the possible obstacles, all the cons, and this all happens with very little effort on your part. The human mind is also more than capable of coming up with all the exact opposite scenarios, pros, how and why something can and will work, but we’re just not conditioned togo into the possibility and positivity space without a little retraining and effort.

#5 is all about being aware of how your own mind might be stopping you. If you need to, you can actually write down all the negative stuff that your mind comes up with to stop you. Get it all out. Better out than in! None of what comes up will stop you, unless you choose to let it.

But at first you have to witness that it’s your own blocks that keep you stuck – your own reasoning, rationale, fears, worries, concerns, rehearsal for disaster, pessimism, and so on.

If you have a solid why that motivates you, your mind-made blocks won’t stand a chance. Your motivators and heartfelt passion will override those fears.

Simply be aware of your mind blocks, without having answers, without knowing how to resolve any of it.

Know it’s possible

We’ve applied this 5 step “allow, trust, what, why and awareness” process for getting goals and dreams off the ground in all areas of our life – from health and fitness to lifestyle, relationships, career and business. We’ve applied the same questions and tests each time. It works!

It’s easy to become lost in the notion that a dream is something that we aspire to but isn’t real. The very word ‘dream’ conjures up a sense of something out of reach. The truth is that dreams exist to be made manifest. Your dream needs you. It needs you in order to spark into life and become real. Don’t rob your dream of that opportunity. Don’t rob the world of your expression. All your dream needs is for you to know it’s possible and step outside of your questions, fears and concerns to give the dream a chance to sprout.