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What Causes The Reversing Falls of Saint John?

Unravelling the Mystery of the Reversing Falls of Saint John

Saint John, located in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, is home to a natural wonder that has fascinated visitors for generations – the Reversing Falls. This unique phenomenon, where the flow of a river seems to reverse its course momentarily, has puzzled scientists and tourists alike. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intriguing world of the Reversing Falls, exploring its causes, effects, and the best ways to experience this awe-inspiring spectacle.

What Are The Reversing Falls in Saint John

reversing falls saint john
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The Reversing Falls are a series of rapids and whirlpools that occur in the Saint John River, where it meets the Bay of Fundy. What makes these falls unique is their peculiar behaviour, which seems contrary to the natural flow of water. Instead of flowing downstream into the bay as one might expect, the water temporarily reverses direction and rushes back upstream.

Saint John’s Tides and Their Influence on Reversing Falls

To understand the Reversing Falls, one must first grasp the significant role played by the tides in Saint John. The Bay of Fundy, markedly known for having the highest tides in the world, exerts a powerful influence on the local rivers, including the Saint John River.

Understanding the Impact of Saint John Tides on the Phenomenon

reversing falls saint john
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The enormous tides of the Bay of Fundy, which can reach heights of up to 16 metres (52 feet), are the driving force behind the Reversing Falls. When the tide is rising, saltwater from the bay surges into the river, creating a powerful downstream current. This powerful influx of seawater temporarily overpowers the river’s natural flow, causing it to reverse direction and flow upstream.

Slack Tide Explained: The Calm Amidst the Rush

reversing falls saint john
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During the brief period known as “slack tide,” the forces of the rising tide and the river’s natural flow balance each other out. At this time, the water in the river appears calm, and it seems as if the Reversing Falls have come to a standstill. However, this respite is short-lived, as the tides continue to rise or fall, once again setting the stage for the mesmerizing reversal of the falls.

The Geological Formation of Reversing Falls

reversing falls saint john
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The geological history of the Reversing Falls is equally fascinating. Millions of years ago, volcanic activity in the region resulted in the creation of a basaltic rock formation that now forms the foundation of the falls. Over time, the relentless force of the river has carved a narrow gorge through this rock, contributing to the dramatic rapids and whirlpools that we see today.

The Reversing Falls Lookout Point: A Spectacular Experience

No visit to Saint John would be complete without witnessing the Reversing Falls from the designated lookout point. The lookout offers an unparalleled vantage point for experiencing this natural wonder up close.

Breathtaking Views at Reversing Falls Lookout Point

reversing falls saint john
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From the lookout point, visitors can marvel at the sheer power of the Reversing Falls as they witness the water’s tumultuous journey through the narrow gorge. The churning rapids and whirlpools, set against the backdrop of the Bay of Fundy, create an undeniably mesmerizing spectacle that leaves a lasting impression.

Best Time Of Year To Visit

reversing falls saint john
Image: @yota.kano on Instagram

The best time of year to witness this natural wonder is during the peak of the tidal changes, which occur most dramatically in the summer and early autumn months. During this period, the tides are at their highest, and the Reversing Falls are at their most spectacular. Consulting a tide chart for Saint John can provide you with specific dates and times when the phenomenon is at its peak, ensuring you have a memorable and awe-inspiring experience. As well, many of the local amenities may be closed or have limited hours during the off season.

Enjoying The Wonders of Reversing Falls Saint John 

This extraordinary phenomenon, driven by the colossal tides of the Bay of Fundy and the geological forces that shaped the region, continues to enthrall all who visit. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a geology buff, or simply a curious traveler, the Reversing Falls are a must-see attraction that showcases the incredible beauty and complexity of our natural world. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to Saint John to witness the marvel that is the Reversing Falls.

Related: 7 Amazing Waterfalls Near Toronto Everyone Has To See

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