Bay of Fundy Tides

January 11, 2006


Provided by: Thomas McGuire
Summary author: Thomas McGuire

The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada has historically claimed the world's greatest range of tides. Tidal changes in water level up to 56 feet (17 m) have been observed. The scooped shape of the bottom of the Bay of Fundy tends to funnels tidal currents, enabling the tidal range to increase toward the head of the Bay. At Cape Chignecto, the flow is split between Chignecto Bay and the Minas Basin. Partially due to the Coriolis effect (which is responsible for the counterclockwise circulation of hurricanes and other storm systems), the stronger flow curves right into the Minas Basin. The 13-hour natural resonant frequency of water in the bay also augments the tidal range.

Recent measurements at Leaf Basin along the southwestern part of Ungava Bay, in far northern Quebec, now rival Fundy for the world record. Although the Ungava tides are consistently higher than the Fundy tides, the highest single measurement remains in the Fundy-Minas Basin. Other locations with exceptional tidal include the Bristol Channel in the west of England, Anchorage, Alaska, southern Argentina and northwestern Australia.

These two photographs were taken on the pier in Parrsboro Nova Scotia in August of 1995. Parrsboro is the largest port on the Minas Basin. Notice the boy diving into the water at high tide. Other people can be seen in the distance in both images. Click on the image to see an enlarged view.

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