Spectacular 'Fish Scales' Phenomenon Wows Observers at China's Qiantang River

Hemin Bakir
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A unique and awe-inspiring natural event was recently witnessed at the Qiantang River in Zhejiang Province, China. Known as the 'fish scales' phenomenon, it attracted significant attention and widespread reporting. This occurrence, due to fluctuating water levels, results in large, spiraling waves which give an impression of fish scales on the water's surface.


The 'Fish-Scale' Tide

The Qiantang River, situated in east China's Zhejiang Province, is known for its dramatic tides. On August 2, 2022, the river experienced an unusual 'fish-scale' tide. The phenomenon was first recorded in 2021 during a scientific expedition on the Qiantang River bore tide.

The Qiantang River and its estuary, Hangzhou Bay, have the world's largest tidal bores, reaching 9 meters in some places. This means that this area frequently experiences trains of large waves moving upstream against the normal current. The region is also noted for its rotating currents, which can change their direction of flow over the course of a tidal cycle without changing speed.


Understanding the Phenomenon

These elements combine to create perfect conditions for the 'fish-scale' tide. Two sets of tidal-bore-induced waves collide at an angle, creating challenging conditions and a visually captivating pattern. This occurrence closely resembles a cross sea, a sea state with two wave systems traveling at oblique angles, creating a unique and mesmerizing pattern on the water surface.

On July 31, 2022, this rare tidal phenomenon took place on the Qiantang River's estuary. Videos capturing the event were widely shared on social media platforms, fascinating viewers worldwide and sparking numerous discussions about its origins and implications.


A Tourist Attraction

The Qiantang River is renowned for being the site of the world's largest tidal bore, locally called the 'Silver Dragon.' This phenomenon, along with the 'fish-scale' tide and 'crossing tide,' makes the river a significant tourist attraction during the Dragon Boat Festival in east China's Zhejiang Province.

The river's unique tidal phenomena, including the 'fish-scale' tide, have become a symbol of the power and beauty of nature, attracting visitors from around the world. Scientists and researchers continue to study these phenomena to better understand their causes and implications.

Final Thoughts

While the 'fish-scale' tide is a natural event that has been occurring for centuries, its rarity and beauty continue to captivate observers. The phenomenon serves as a reminder of the power of nature and the mysteries it still holds. As research continues, further insights about these fascinating tidal events are expected to emerge, deepening our understanding of the world's water systems and the forces that shape them.