Magazine

Mar 23, 2015

Tide of the century in France

Tide of the century in France

Crowds of people have gathered at France's Mont Saint-Michel to see an unusually high spring tide caused by the current sun-moon configuration. Other locations experienced a similar phenomenon. The sun and the moon joined forces on Saturday morning to produce a remarkable natural spectacle at the Mont Saint-Michel abbey in northern France, with a tidal surge of around 14 meters (46 feet) that cut the rocky island off from the mainland.

Mont Saint-Michel already has some of the strongest tides in the world, but the current positions of the sun and moon relative to the earth are producing an effect that is seen about once every 18 years or so - giving the lie to the media billing as "tide of the century."

The "supertide" phenomenon will also be seen at other places around the world, with the Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic coast of Canada expected to experience a surge of up to 16 meters. The Bristol Channel in western England is likely to see a more than 14-meter difference between low and high tide levels. The tidal phenomenon is linked to Friday's solar eclipse and to the current "supermoon," which occurs when the moon comes closer to the earth than normal.

Tide of the century in France
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A view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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Sheep graze in the meadow in front of the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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An aerial view view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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An aerial view view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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An aerial view view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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Poeple stand along the waterfront as a wave crashes onto a seawall durng the rising tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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Sand bags against rising water are lined up along the waterfront in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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An aerial view shows the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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People look at the sea on the waterfront in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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People stand along the waterfront as a wave crashes onto a seawall durng the rising tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man digs for shellfish during a record low tide on Kerlaz beach near Douarnenez in western France MAL Langsdon/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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People dig for shellfish during a record low tide on Kerlaz beach near Douarnenez in western France MAL Langsdon/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man digs for shellfish during a record low tide on Kerlaz beach near Douarnenez in western France MAL Langsdon/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A family digs for shellfish during a record low tide on Kerlaz beach near Douarnenez in western France MAL LANGSDON/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A woman walks on the sand at low tide around the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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Sebastien Daligault, a guide at the Bay Saint-Michel, stands knee-deep in water from the outgoing tide during a walking tour around the Mont Saint-Michel off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

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A group of people walk on the mud flats at low tide around the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

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Sebastien Daligault, a guide at the Bay Saint-Michel, stands knee-deep in quicksand as tourists watch nearby during a walking tour at low tide around the 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A guide leads a group of people along the mud flats at low tide around the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A seagull flies above the beach as visitors make their way across the wet sand during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A woman displays her basket after digging for shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A general view of people who dot the beach as they dig for shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo, STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A family walks on the beach as they dig for shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A woman displays shellfish found during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man carries tools to dig for shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A general view of people who dot the beach as they dig for shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo, STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man carries a net with shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man displays a tool to measure the size of shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A general view of people who dot the beach as they dig for shellfish during a record low tide in Saint Malo, STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A general view of people who dot the beach during a record low tide in Saint Malo, STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man feeds a seagull during a record low tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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Onlookers gather at high tide to enjoy the spectacle of waves crashing on the coast at Penhors in Finistere, western France MAL Langsdon/REUTERS

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Onlookers gather at high tide to enjoy the spectacle of waves crashing on the coast at Penhors in Finistere, western France MAL Langsdon/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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People gather on the waterfront to watch the incoming high tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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People gather on the waterfront to watch the incoming high tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

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A crowd of people is seen in silhouette on the waterfront as people watch the incoming high tide in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

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People sit on an embankment as the incoming tide surrounds the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A man paddles a kayak as the incoming tide surrounds the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

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A wave crashes against a sea wall as people gather on the waterfront in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A wave crashes against a sea wall as visitor stands on the waterfront in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Tide of the century in France
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A wave crashes against a sea wall as people gather on the waterfront in Saint Malo STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

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A man stands on an embankment as the incoming high tide surrounds the Mont Saint-Michel 11th century abbey off France's Normandy coast PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

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