The article below was taken from
the Times Globe Friday, Mar.20/98.
Tidal Power in a
A new exhibit will help explain the awesome
power of the Bay of Fundy's tides.
By Marni Weisz
The New Brunswick Museum
officially was to unveil its newest exhibit today, a huge transparent tube.
But this is not just any huge, trans- parent tube, it is
the Fundy Tidal Tower - a 13 metre high glass cylinder that extends from the
foyer to the third level and keeps track of one of New Brunswick's most famous
"The water actually rises and falls in
synch with the Fundy tides," says Zita Longobardi, public affairs manager for
The tower is situated in the middle of the
main staircase. And, yes, if you run outside to the harbour you should be able
to see that the water is at the same level outside as it is inside the tube.
Other locations along the Fundy coast are also marked on
the tower so that visitors can compare the height of the tide in various spots
along the Bay.
The mechanism is relatively simple, but
"We have a hose in the harbour and a holding
tank inside the museum, and the water is moved by air pressure," says Mr.
The idea for the tower came from a mystery
woman in Grand Manan. Ms. Longobardi says that two or three years ago the
museum's director, Frank Milligan toured the province looking for ideas.
He encountered the woman at a public meeting.
"She said why don't you put a tube up the middle of the
building that will show us the tides? We don't even know that lady's name,"
says Ms. Longobardi.
But the idea seemed a natural way
to tap into the province's efforts to promote the Bay of Fundy as a tourist
"It seems like an appropriate place to start
a Fundy experience," says Ms. Longobardi. From there tourists can continue
along the coast venturing out on a whale watching expedition or to see the
effects of the tides on a spot like the Flowerpot Rocks at Hopewell Cape.
A team of architects, plumbers, and glass specialists
have been working on the project for about a year. Until a month or two ago it
was covered by a blue vinyl sheet.
Ms. Longobardi says
that the project cost about $75,000.
At today's ceremony
it was to be announced that the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
contributed $70,000 to the construction, and the provincial government
contributed another $5,000.
How nutrient-rich are Fundy's
waters? In just two weeks, sandpipers feeding on Fundy shores will double their
weight! Bon appetit!
World-renowned ornithologist James
Audubon was a frequent visitor to the Bay of Fundy, and did many of his
sketches while on Grand Manan Island.
of water every 12 hours and 30 minutes is estimated to nearly equal the 24-hour
flow of all the rivers in the world!
Tide: A monthly tide of decreased range that occurs when the
Moon is farthest from Earth (at apogee).
Diurnal: Applies to a location that normally
experiences one high water and one low water during a tidal day of
approximately 24 hours.
Mean Lower Low
Water: The arithmetic mean of the lesser of a daily pair of low
waters, observed over a specific 19-year cycle called the National Tidal Datum
Neap Tide: A tide of
decreased range occurring twice a month, when the Moon is in quadrature (during
the first and last quarter Moons, when the Sun and the Moon are at right angles
to each other relative to Earth).
Tide: A monthly tide of increased range that occurs when the
Moon is closest to Earth (at perigee).
Semidiurnal: Having a period of half a tidal day. East Coast
tides, for example, are semidiurnal, with two highs and two lows in
approximately 24 hours.
Tide: Named not for the season of spring, but from the German
springen (to leap up). This tide of increased range occurs at times of syzygy
(q.v.) each month. A spring tide also brings a lower low water.