Documentation of tidal bore phenomena occurring throughout the world aids in defining the typical geographical setting of tidal bores and enables prediction of their occurrence in remote areas. Tidal bores are naturally occurring, tidally generated, solitary, moving water waves up to 6 meters in height that form upstream in estuaries with semidiurnal or nearly semidiurnal tide ranges exceeding 4 meters. Estuarine settings that have tidal bores typically include meandering fluvial systems with shallow gradients. Bores are well defined, having amplitudes greater than wind- or turbulence-caused waves, and may be undular or breaking. Formation of a bore is dependent on depth and velocity of the incoming tide and river outflow. Bores may occur in series (in several channels) or in succession (marking each tidal pulse). Tidal bores propagate up tidal estuaries a greater distance than the width of the estuary and most occur within 100 kilometers upstream of the estuary mouth. Because they are dynamic, bores cause difficulties in some shipping ports and are targets for eradication.
Tidal bores are known to occur, or to have occurred in the recent past, in at least 67 localities in 16 countries at all latitudes, including every continent except Antarctica. Parts of Argentina, Canada, Central America, China, Mozambique, Madagascar, Northern Europe, North and South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R. probably have additional undiscovered or unreported tidal bores.
In Turnagain Arm estuary in Alaska, bores cause an abrupt increase in salinity, suspended sediment, surface character, and bottom pressure, a decrease in illumination of the water column, and a change in water temperature. Tidal bores occurring in Turnagain Arm, Alaska, have the
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USGS Numbered Series
Catalog of worldwide tidal bore occurrences and characteristics