I noticed when I was boiling pasta the other day that the pasta uniformly spread out and formed a donut like torus. Why does this happen? Does it have to do with the shape of the pot? I tried to take a picture when it was boiling, but steam got all over my lens. So, this is a more 2d version of what the pasta looked like with boiling (while boiling, the pasta strands were uniform and seemed to be repelled out uniformly from the center of the pot.
The walls of your pot act like a thermal sink that transfers heat to the surrounding environment. Therefore, the water temperature gets hotter as you move towards the center of the pot. The cold water then sinks and the hot water pushes up through the center, creating the donut-like torus you are describing.