Researchers from the University of Liverpool observed rare natural phenomena, a double whirlpool, or modons, using satellite imagery from space.

These whirlpools are also called “smoke rings” in the water and are thought to move rapidly and suck up all of the marine life around them and then transport those creatures far distances across the ocean, according to University of Liverpool.

The results of the study were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters this month. The modons move carbon, heat and nutrients around the ocean and can form for up to six months at a time.

These “smoke rings” are made up of eddies that are common and naturally occurring in the ocean. These are typical-looking whirlpools in the ocean that can cover an expanse and move along currents, the smoke rings occur when two of these eddies are linked and spin in opposite directions.

Satellite data on the depth of the ocean and the temperature of the water revealed the eddies and smoke rings. They were discovered off of the coast of southwest Australia, the South Pacific and west of South Africa, according to University of Liverpool.

“Ocean eddies almost always head to the west, but by pairing up they can move to the east and travel ten times as fast as a normal eddy, so they carry water in unusual directions across the ocean,” Professor Chris Hughes, the lead author on the study, said according to a release.

Future missions and technology are expected to help better track the depth of the water and the movement of the modons.