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TitleSediment bedforms in the Bay of Fundy: a geohazard for tidal power development?
AuthorTodd, B JORCID logo; Shaw, J; Li, M ZORCID logo; Kostylev, V E; Hayward, S E
SourceGeoscience Characterization of the Seabed for Environmental Assessment of Marine Renewable Energy Activities, abstracts volume; 2012 p. 1-2
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20110425
MeetingGeoscience Characterization of the Seabed for Environmental Assessment of Marine Renewable Energy Activities; Orcas Island, Washington; US; April 30, 2012
File formatpdf
ProvinceNew Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Eastern offshore region
AreaBay of Fundy
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; marine geology; geophysics; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; Health and Safety; marine sediments; bedforms; tidal scours; energy; tidal power; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; side-scan sonar; bathymetry; seafloor topography; equipment testing; Holocene; glaciomarine sediments; Renewable energy; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary
Illustrationsgeoscientific sketch maps
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience
AbstractLocated on the Atlantic coast of Canada, the Bay of Fundy is a large macrotidal embayment with the World's highest recorded tides and thus the focus of international interest in tidal power development. High-resolution multibeam sonar imagery of seafloor terrain and backscatter strength, combined with geophysical and sampling data, reveal for the first time the morphology, architecture, and spatial relationships of a spectrum of sediment bedforms. Flow-transverse bedforms include elongate trains of dunes oriented parallel to the principal current directions, trains of barchan dunes, and dunes occurring as both large fields or in trains that lie transverse to the bay. Larger dunes show evidence of being 'trapped' as a result of being incised into underlying glaciomarine sediment (Fig. 1). Flow-parallel bedforms are principally multiple straight ridges formerly described as horse mussel reefs but now recognized as bio-bedforms. Banner banks flank prominent headlands. Bedform assemblages have formed in the lee of major shoals.
This suite of bedforms developed during the Holocene as tidal energy increased due to the Bay of Fundy approaching resonance. In concert with broad-scale winnowing (resulting in surface lags throughout the bay), large tidal scours developed in places. In northeastern Bay of Fundy within Minas Passage at the tidal current maxima, one tidal power device has been deployed for testing and retrieved. Three more devices are scheduled for deployment in 2012 to 2013. Although these prototype devices will be situated on a (rare) exposed bedrock platform, future commercial-scale device arrays will undoubtedly be deployed farther afield in the bay where they will have to contend with sediment bedforms. The bedforms and their mobility may pose a geohazard for such marine renewable energy development.

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