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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