Worldwide Wednsday: Extraordinary Toroidal Vortices

Just cuz they pretty, here are some extraordinary toroidal vortices produced by dolphins, beluga whales, humpback whales, volcanoes, hydrogen/atomic bombs, and well, you will see!.

A toroidal vortex, also called a vortex ring, is a region of rotating fluid moving through the same or different fluid where the flow pattern takes on a toroidal (doughnut) shape. The movement of the fluid is about the poloidal or circular axis of the doughnut, in a twisting vortex motion. Examples of this phenomenon are a smoke ring or a microburst. Vortex rings were first mathematically analysed by the German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, in his paper of 1867 On Integrals of the Hydrodynamical Equations which Express Vortex-motion Smoke rings have probably been observed since antiquity since they can easily be blown from the mouth.

***Toroidal animation that appears at the beginning and end (and the ‘fibration’ animation at 2:55) were created by Paul Nylander (

***The 17 second clip of the humpback whale bubble rings shown from 1:56 to 2:13 is from danthewhaleman (The Whale Video Company).***…

Comments are closed.