When in quest for the most imposing tide differences in the world, researchers have discovered a bay in Canada to have the highest known tides on Earth. The Bay of Fundy tides have been recorded at a constant rate of well above 10 meters in most of the areas of the bay, being largely caused by the bay’s unique geological formation.
The Bay of Fundy is well-known throughout the world for featuring the largest tides ever recorded. Also known as Baie Francaise, the bay is situated between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada, while a portion of it also touches the state of Maine in the USA. Although the difference is somewhat small when compared to the tidal ranges of the Ungava Bay, which is considered to feature the second highest tide in the world, the Bay of Fundy has several points where tidal ranges can reach levels as high as 14-16 meters on a constant basis. Burntcoat Head and the Minas Basin in the Bay of Fundy are two of the locations with the highest tides ever recorded.
Tidal range is the difference between low tide and high tide. The specific quality of the Bay of Fundy is that this distance is the highest here than anywhere else on the entire planet. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how large the difference itself is. First of all, tidal ranges differ depending on the time of the month and year. During new and full moons, tides are stronger due to the alignment of gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun, while the largest tidal ranges of the year can usually be expected during equinoxes. The Fundy Bay in Nova Scotia was observed as having the highest tidal range in the world, measured at a spring range of 14.5 meters (47 feet). The highest range ever recorded, however, was more than 21 meters, having been recorded during a strong tropical cyclone in 1869.
Two high tides and two extremely low tides can be observed on the coasts of the Bay of Fundy once every 24 hours or so. On average, it takes about 6 hours and 13 minutes for a low tide to transition into a higher tide, while you can also expect to see at least one low tide and one high tide during daytime hours. Due to the fact that the time periods between tides are slightly longer than 6 hours, the tide times tend to shift by an hour each day, so that in less than a month they can basically be observed at each hour of the day or night. It is also worth mentioning that the times differ slightly for separate locations around the bay.
The Fundy Basin is a rift valley that houses the Bay of Fundy and is largely responsible for the formation of the bay as well. The basin formed as the rift started to separate from the mainland, forming flood basalts and volcanoes. The North Mountain, a basaltic mountain range close to the Fundy Basin, resulted from this change. As the mid-Atlantic ridge continued to separate North America from Europe and Africa, the rift basin eventually failed, leading to the formation of the Bay of Fundy as we know it today.