Physical Characteristics

Topography of eastern seaboard of US and Canada (pubs.usgs.gov)
Topography of eastern seaboard of US and Canada (pubs.usgs.gov)

The Gulf of Maine’s unique history has created a “sea within a sea” or a distinct region with ocean currents, bottom topography and habitats unlike any other.

If you look at a map of the eastern seaboard from Florida to New York, the continent meets the ocean in a fairly consistent matter – gently sloping, low-lying lands laced with tidal rivers, marshes and bays warmed by the Gulf Stream waters and graced with long barrier islands made up of coastal sediments.

Move up the coast to the Gulf of Maine – which extends from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia – and the scenery changes dramatically. The steeper New England and maritime Canada coast is characterized by rocky shorelines, hundreds of harbors, and thousands of islands made of ledge, or upturned bedrock

Rocky coast of Cobscook Bay near the US/Canadian border (T. Trott, 2007)
Rocky coast of Cobscook Bay near the US/Canadian border (T. Trott, 2007)

As you move up to the Bay of Fundy, the Gulf of Maine’s northernmost feature, one can see how its enclosed shape gives rise to some of the highest tides in the world, up to 8 meters high. (Image: Bay of Fundy region)

These are just a few of the physical characteristics help to make this marine ecosystem one of the most varied and productive in the world, learn more on these pages…