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Reversing Falls at Barrier Inlet

Nature volume 135, page 261 (16 February 1935) | Download Citation



AFTER recording the absence of good ship harbourage between Pritzler Harbour and Barrier Inlet, the report of the Canadian Department of Marine goes on to describe the physical features of the latter, which is an arm of the sea extending 12 miles inland. At the entrance, it has a width of about a mile and a half, but two miles inside, the width contracts to three quarters of a mile. The channel is still further constricted at this point by a number of rocky islets, connected at low stages of the tide and leaving only two narrow passage-ways less than a hundred yards wide. “The free flow of the tide in and out of the inlet being thus constricted at the narrows, a ‘head’ of water is formed and creates a reversing falls. At the time of low tide on October 1, there was a sheer outward waterfall 8 feet in height, and the lowering of the fiordal waters continued for a space of 2 hours whilst the tide was rising outside at the foot of the cataract. Slack water occurred for a few moments when the flood tide reached the elevation of the water in the fiord but almost immediately the inward rush of water formed whirlpools and great eddies and soon waves, 6 feet high, careened wildly from side to side. A boat attempting to pass through at such time would be engulfed.”

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