The development of coherent vortices from the discharge of a 40 cm long line plume into a rotating stratified fluid, as viewed from above. The plume rises to its level of neutral buoyancy, where it spreads as a neutral cloud. The spreading is influenced by the system rotation: the Coriolis force generates a strong shear across the neutral cloud, which goes unstable and breaks into six anticyclonic lens-shaped vortices. The dependence of the scale of the structures on the source conditions is developed on the basis of scaling arguments, and validated experimentally in Bush & Woods, JFM (1999) . The relevance of this study to two oceanographic problems has been considered.
The discharge of hydrothermal fluid from active mid-ocean ridge spreading centers is discussed in Woods & Bush (1999), and the generation of arctic eddies by lead-induced thermohaline convection in Bush & Woods (2000) .