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Tidal bore

  A tidal bore (or just bore, or eagre) is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave (or waves) of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the current. As such, it is a true tidal wave (not to be confused with a tsunami).


Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range (typically more than 20 feet between high and low water), and where incoming tides are funneled into a shallow, narrowing river via a broad bay. The funnel-like shape not only increases the height of the tide, but it can also decrease the duration of the flood tide down to a point where the flood appears as a sudden increase in the water level.

Bores take on various forms, ranging from a single breaking wavefront — effectively a shock wave — to ‘undular bores’ comprising a smooth wavefront followed by a train of solitary waves (solitons). Larger bores can be particularly dangerous for shipping, but also present opportunities for river surfing.

The word bore derives through Old English from the Old Norse word bára, meaning a wave or swell.

Rivers that have been known to exhibit bores include those listed below.


  • Ganges–Brahmaputra, India, Bangladesh
  • Indus River, Pakistan
  • Qiantang River, China, which has the world's largest bore, up to 9 meters (30 feet) high, traveling at up to 40 km per hour (25 miles an hour).
  • Batang Lupar or Lupar River, near Sri Aman, Malaysia. The tidal bore is locally known as benak.

South America

  • Amazon River in Brazil, up to 4m (12 feet) high, running at up to 25 km/h (15 miles per hour). It is known locally as the pororoca.[1]
  • Mearim River in Brazil.
  • Araguari River in Brazil.

North America


  • Petitcodiac River in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada, formerly the highest bore in North America, over 2 metres (6 feet) high. It was reduced to little more than a ripple due to causeway construction and extensive siltation.
  • Shubenacadie River, also off the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. When the tidal bore approaches, completely drained riverbeds are filled. The bore is fastest and tallest in some of the smaller rivers that connect to the Bay. It has claimed the lives of several tourists that were in the riverbeds when the bore came in.
  • Turnagain arm of Cook Inlet, Alaska. Up to 2 meters (6 feet) and 20 km per hour.

Most rivers off the upper Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have tidal bores. These include the River Hebert, Kennetcook River and Maccan River, the St. Croix River in the Minas Basin, and the Salmon River in Truro.


United Kingdom


  • River Dee, Wales / England
  • River Mersey
  • River Severn, Wales / England up to 2 meters (7 feet) high
  • River Trent, (the Aegir) up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) high, England and other tributaries of the Humber Estuary
  • River Parrett
  • River Welland
  • River Kent
  • River Great Ouse
  • River Ouse, Yorkshire
  • River Eden
  • River Esk
  • River Nith


The phenomenom is generally named un mascaret in French[2] but some other local names are preferred.

  • Seine, locally named la barre, had a significant bore until the 1960s. Since then it has been practically eliminated by dredging.
  • Couesnon
  • Vilaine, locally named le mascarin
  • Dordogne River
  • Garonne River


  • Saltstraumen near Bodø, claimed to be the strongest tidal current in the world.


  • Styx River, Queensland, Australia
  • Daly River, Northern Territory, Australia


  1. ^ (English) Pororoca: surfing the Amazon
  2. ^ (French) definition of mascaret

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tidal_bore". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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