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Moskenstraumen (môsk´ənstrou´mən) or Maelstrom (māl´strəm), tidewater whirlpool in the Lofoten Islands, NW Norway. Formed when tidal currents flow through coastal fjords and a maze of small islands, it is c.2.5 mi (4 km) wide and may at its center reach a speed of 10 ft (3 m) per second. It is a danger to small ships and has been described with great imagination by Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne.