Seeing a Natural Tidal Marvel on the Atlantic Ocean
The Bay of Fundy on the east coast of North America is famous for its rich animal and plant life, amazing natural phenomena, and especially its high tides.
One of the most fascinating phenomena in coastal areas is the cycle of tides, especially when the changes are dramatic. Every day, the tides rise and fall at hundreds of bays, ocean beaches, and seashores, but nowhere is the cycle as spectacular as in the Bay of Fundy. Located between the shores of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Maine, the bay is believed to have the highest tides in the world, with over a hundred billion tons of seawater flowing in and out twice a day, with each tidal cycle taking about 12 hours.
The Bay of Fundy is shaped like a huge, 270 kilometer-long funnel, allowing the water to flow freely back and forth, providing a fascinating tourist attraction as well as a home for a wide range of sea life.
Plants and Animals in the Bay of Fundy
The flow of water back and forth in the bay has brought richness to sea life. Tourist information tells of up to fifteen species of whales that visit the area, including humpbacks, blue whales, and the almost-extinct right whales. Whale-watching expeditions may not always be successful, but visitors are likely to see at least some of these huge marine mammals or the smaller dolphins inhabiting the water. The churning water nourishes the extensive plant and animal life, with abundant crabs, lobsters, and plankton. Such a profusion of food attracts birds as well, with sandpipers, puffins, and auks among the many species living in the area. Fossils in the nearby rocks show a long history of plant and animal life, and enthusiasts will want to spend time wandering along the shores in search of these ancient remnants.
Tides in the Bay of Fundy
Unique phenomena also come with the changing tides. The ReversingFalls at St. John, New Brunswick change direction twice a day, causing the river to change directions. Experts describe the huge surges called tidal bores which occur in the water, caused by the narrowing river at the head of the bay, sweeping through the water at a meter (3 feet) high and at a speed of up to 15 kilometers (10 miles) per hour, creating as much noise as an oncoming train.
The Sources of the Tides
The amazing tides of the Bay of Fundy, like all other tides in the world, come from several causes. Scientists believe that tides come from forces beyond this world, caused by the pull of the moon, the sun, and the rotation of the earth. A new moon or a full moon results in higher tides than normal, while the alignment of the sun and moon at right angles to the earth brings lower tides. The depth and funnel shape of the Bay of Fundy make its tides, which follow the pattern of the Atlantic Ocean, especially impressive.
Tides are about more than just the movement of water. In the Bay of Fundy, as in many other places around the world, tides are a source of life, bringing interesting plants and animals to bays and inlets. For tourists and residents alike, the tides in the Bay of Fundy are an amazing sight as they continue their daily schedule of ebb and flow, bringing richness to life on North America’s east coast.