If it weren't for the rise and fall of the tides, you probably wouldn't be reading this right now. Mostly because life as we know it on this planet was very likely helped along by the fact that we have ocean tides - and we have ocean tides because of the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon.
While it's true that wind and land masses play a role too (it's all pretty complex), the moon is probably the most important factor in relation to tides and its effect on the earth's oceans. Despite the calm and tranquil nature of the moon, it is not just hanging up there doing nothing. It is up there causing the tides to rise and fall which stirs up nutrients on the sea floor and distributes them among all the abundant plant life along the shore.
These nutrients are a key ingredient for sea-life to thrive and are an important link in the food chain that provides food for birds, whales, fish and a variety of other marine life and coastal species. So maybe thank the moon and the tides the next time you are chowing down on some tasty deep-fried scallops and clams.
If we were to be so unlucky that a giant asteroid blasted our moon out of its orbit around earth tomorrow, the tidal force would be so drastically affected to the point that without the movement of the tides, all the oceans plants may die, and that means most fish and other marine life would probably die, and then humans would likely follow suit fairly quickly. Whatever the case, our "friend" the ocean's tides are actually pushing our moon slooooowly (a billion years slowly) away from earth, which will eventually slow the earth's rotation down and...nevermind.
The Highest Tides in the World
You probably haven't heard of the Bay of Fundy, but it has the highest tides on this planet and has been designated one of North America's seven wonders, along with the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, which we're guessing you probably have heard of. The Bay of Fundy is found in two atlantic provinces in Canada: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and a teeny-tiny part of it touches the state of Maine in the United States too. The tides in the in the Bay of Fundy can quickly rise as high as a 5 story building, up to 16 metres or 56 feet, in just a matter of hours. So maybe keep that in mind if you decide to explore its beautiful beaches.
What Makes the Bay of Fundy So Special?
There are a lot of factors that come into play for a specific area of the planet to have high and low tides. The shape and geometry of a coastline, and the sun and the moon's effect on those elements play a huge role. The Bay of Fundy has all of these particular elements in spades. The Bay of Fundy is basically shaped like a giant "V" which pushes the water higher as it moves inland. It has the perfect combination of factors for the highest tides in the world to be produced there. In fact, if we didn't limit our top 5 list to not show tide measurements from the same area of a body of water, areas in the Bay of Fundy would have taken up our whole top 5 list.
1. Burntcoat Head, Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia: 38.4 metres
2. Horton Bluff, Avon River, Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia: 38.1 metres
3. Amherst Point, Cumberland Basin, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia: 35.6 metres
4. Parrsboro (Partridge Island), Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia: 34.4 metres
5. Hopewell Cape, Petitcodiac River, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick: 33.2 metres
6. Joggins, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia: 33.2 metres
Noel James Riggs,
Head writer, Top 5 of Anything.com.
List Notes: Data is top 5 highest tides measured by largest mean (average) tidal ranges. Please note: we have omitted geographic locations that are located near or on the same body of water for the purposes of this list.