The Fascinating Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is a geologically fascinating location in North America. I visited the bay in summer 1990 with my college geology department from Furman University. The Bay of Fundy is located along the eastern coast of North America in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada and on the northern side of the Gulf of Maine. You can go here to see a map of the Bay on Google. I visited the Bay of Fundy during a college field trip and found the formation of the area fascinating. The bay is along the Atlantic Ocean and is subject to dramatic tidal changes. The photo at left shows an area of the Bay of Fundy at low tide. You can see people walking along the low area.

The Bay of Fundy is approximately 174 miles long. The tide cycles are 12.5 hours showing a dramatic increase and decrease in the water level of the Bay. During this phenomenal change, over one billion tons of water flow into and out of the Bay of Fundy. The highest recorded change between low and high tide was 54.5 feet, documented at Burncoat Head in Nova Scotia. Typical tides changes in the Bay are generally up to 49 feet per tide and are most pronounced near the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia, Canada. The photo at right shows the same area of the Bay of Fundy approximately 12 hour later at high tide. The area where the people were waling at low tide is completely flooded.

The Bay of Fundy is home to many birds, fish and marine animals such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, fish, seals and seabirds. The geology of the area consists of sandstone, 200 million year old basalts formed as statues and cliffs, zeolites and semi-precious stones including amethyst, agate, calcite, copper, jasper and coal. The rolling in and out of the tide reveals fossils from the ancient rock layers as erosion occurs from 350 million year old carboniferous rocks.   In one area of the Bay of Fundy, the Joggings Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia, you can see an almost complete fossil record of the Pennsylvanian Coal Age, approximately 299 to 318 million years ago. The site also shows fossils from ancient reptiles and some of the oldest dinosaurs in Canada.

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