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Zen Garden Tidal Flat

July 22, 2011

Since I study the creatures that lived along ancient shorelines, I often contemplate tidal flats. This is, however, a scientific, mostly objective contemplation.

This evening I saw another side of these wonderful places between sea and land. We took a walk in Bird Cove near Churchill, Manitoba, and in the quiet bright fog it was a place of utter peace and openminded contentment. As my friend Debbie pointed out, it was like a Zen garden, and we felt a serene calm as we walked slowly and silently back toward the shore. The only hindrance to reaching a higher plane was that we had to remain constantly vigilant in case a polar bear just happened to wander up through the thickening mist.

These are tonight’s photos.

Broad shallow channels shine silver in the fog.

Ripples form a Bertillon Pattern.

A knob of Proterozoic Churchill quartzite looms out of the fog.

This narrow pond penetrates into the dark reduction zone hiding below the pale sediment surface.

From some angles the ripples seem to go on forever.

Interference ripples take on the appearance of a ruched fabric.

If only the snails that made these tracks could spell, they would produce a beautiful cursive script.

Ten out of ten paleontologists think of Velociraptors every time they see large bird tracks. These particular theropod prints were made by a Canada Goose.

In Bird Cove this evening: Debbie Thompson, Matt Demski, and Dave Rudkin

© Graham Young, 2011

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2011 11:10 pm

    Excuse my ignorance, but what causes the ripples? This is one of those “why don’t I know this?” questions that irritates me, and I never remember to find out.

    Otherwise, another lovely post and beautiful photographs.

    • July 26, 2011 2:28 pm

      As water flows in one direction it picks up sand and lighter particles, but loses some energy due to friction; as it flows back (in water waves or tidal movement), it has less energy and so deposits the sand. The movement of the water and particles inside the wave is circular in cross-section, so sand is deposited unevenly laterally, forming the ripples of sand, mirroring the ripples (waves) in the water above.

  2. July 22, 2011 11:12 pm

    hm, amazing ripples.

  3. July 23, 2011 8:44 pm


  4. Peter Lee permalink
    July 24, 2011 6:20 am

    Very nice Graham… very tranquil… reflective in the moment…

  5. Kate permalink
    August 11, 2011 8:58 am

    Ahh, Your photographs capture the beauty and subtleties of nature. Along with science!

  6. February 28, 2012 5:22 pm

    These are extremely beautiful images Graham.

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