Coastal Maine tide change a mystery

Meteorologists are baffled by rapid tidal changes along the Maine coast, which damaged some boats and piers.

Witnesses say low tide turned and became high within a matter of minutes on Tuesday afternoon. The changes occurred six or seven times. The National Weather Service says reports from several locations indicated that water levels fell and rose from 4 feet to as much as 12 feet during the event.

In a public information statement, the weather service says the cause "remains a mystery and may never be known."

It said significant rapid rises and falls in tide levels were observed around 3 p.m. in Boothbay Harbor, Southport and Bristol. The statement said rapid surges can be caused by the underwater movement of land, most often due to an earthquake, or due to slumping of sediments along a steep canyon or shelf, but no earthquakes were reported in the area Tuesday.

A similar event occurred on Jan. 9, 1926, in Bass Harbor, the statement said.

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