Phenomena

Tidal Bore

The daily ebb and flood of the tides results from the competing forces of the Earth’s rotation and the sun and moon’s gravitational pull on the oceans. In a few areas, the local topography funnels the incoming water into a tidal bore with a distinctive leading edge. The photo above comes from the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet in Alaska, where bore tides can reach a height of 7 ft and move as quickly as 15 mph. For surfers, the bore can provide a long ride–40 minutes in this case–but they can be extremely dangerous as well. Bore tides are associated with intense turbulence capable of ripping out moorings and structures; the waves are often accompanied by a roar caused by air entrainment, impact on obstacles, and the erosion of underlying sediment.  (Photo credit: S. Dickerson/Red Bull Illume; via Jennifer Ouellette)

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