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Bay of Fundy Tides : Articles & Resources

Bay of Fundy The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and those enormous tides mean that the Bay of Fundy is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Most tides around the world average around 1 meter, so why is does the tide in the Bay of Fundy reach up to 16 meters?

Try this experiment. Put about 6” of water in the bathtub. Use something flat like a cutting board or baking pan to get the water sloshing back and forth. Take it out and notice that the water will rhythmically slosh back and forth for a period of time. The water rises at one end and then the other while the middle level stays fairly constant. This is known as “oscillation”. The speed of the oscillation depends on the length and depth of the basin. In the Bay of Fundy, the unique length and depth creates a natural cycle of oscillation around 12-13 hours.

Now imagine someone going back and forth on a swing. If a person behind the swing gives it a push the person on the swing will go much higher. The water in the Bay of Fundy is like the person on the swing, and the Atlantic tide is like the person giving a push. The water is already oscillating and the tide pushes the water even higher. This is called “resonance”.

The combination of oscillation and resonance in the funnel shaped Bay of Fundy is the reason for such high tides.

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Image by Dennis Jarvis on Flickr