By Scott A. Rowan
In our series of stories on tidal bores, we examine the geology, location, and dangers of bores. In this article, we’ll specifically look at one of the geological oddities in the world that will kill you if you let your guard down and get too close.
Though potentially lethal, bores in China, Brazil, and Alaska that occur on a semi-predictable schedule are the siren call to intrepid kayakers, surfers, and the curious onlookers eager to experience one of Mother Nature’s oddities. For some, however, this treat is one of Mother Nature’s last tricks as the powerful surges still continue to claim lives despite most people knowing the dangers.
Every year, adventure seekers flock to the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, China, site of the world’s largest tidal bore that occurs every fall due to natural conditions. The tapered channel of the Qiantang River forces the bore to compress and, with nowhere else to go but up, the bore can reach heights of 30 feet (9 m). The violence of the Qiantang bore creates a cacophonous roar that can be heard for hours prior to the bore finally appearing, giving residents plenty of time to run to the water see the action. Every year casualties are reported and it isn’t uncommon for witnesses to be killed. In the aftermath of the 2015 Qiantang bore (August 31, 2015), Chinese authorities reported the bore caused one death and that four other people were swept out to sea.
Learn the what/where/why/when/how about bores.