Imaggeo on Mondays: Huts in Arcachon Bay

The Tchanquees Huts in the Arcachon Bay by Yann Vitasse, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

The Tchanquees Huts in the Arcachon Bay by Yann Vitasse, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Yann Vitasse, now a researcher at the Institute of Botany, University of Basel in Switzerland, got a wonderful present in 2009 for completing his PhD: a flight on an ultralight aircraft above the southwest coast of France. It was then he took this stunning photo of the Arcachon Bay, a water area near Bordeaux that is fed by the Atlantic Ocean and by a number of fresh waterways.“Here you see the famous Tchanquees Huts which were built on stilts in the middle of the Arcachon Bay, on the bird island. These huts were originally used for monitoring oyster beds,” Vitasse said.

The photo was taken at low tide, a time when the water covers an area of only 40 square kilometres. By comparison the bay takes up some 150 square kilometers at high tide, when the entire area to the left of the huts is covered by sea water.

The bird island, starting to the right of the huts, also varies in area being some 10 times larger at low tide. Geologists are still out on the origin of this structure. Some defend it is a former sandbar while others prefer the theory that it formed from the remains of a high dune shaped by the wind and the ocean.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

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