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Tides Webquest

Part I: Background on Tides

Begin your information search by using your textbook and accessing
As you read through the tutorial, answer the questions below that correspond to each
section of the tutorial.
What are Tides?
1. What is a basic definition of a tide?
tides are very long-period waves that move through the oceans in response to the
forces exerted by the moon and sun.
. What is a high tide? What is a low tide?
When the highest part, or crest of the wave reaches a particular location, high
tide occurs
!. What is tidal range?
low tide corresponds to the lowest part of the wave, or its trough.
What Causes Tides?
". #ides are caused by the gra$itational attraction of what two celestial bodies?
Tidal forces are based on the gravitational attractive force.
%. What does &ewton's law of uni$ersal gra$itational state?
that the gravitational attraction between two bodies is directly proportional to
their masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between
the bodies
(. Which celestial body has a greater effect on tidal forces on )arth?
Gravity, Inertia, and the Two Bulges
+. ,ow does the moon create a bulge?
gravitational force acts to draw the water closer to the moon, inertia attempts to
keep the water in place. But the gravitational force exceeds it and the water is
pulled toward the moon, causing a bulge! of water on the near side toward the
1-. What causes a bulge to be created on the opposite side of the )arth or the .far
side/ from the moon?
gravitational attraction of the moon is less because it is farther away. "ere, inertia
exceeds the gravitational force, and the water tries to keep going in a straight
line, moving away from the #arth, also forming a bulge
Changing ngles and Changing Tides
11. 0escribe how changes in the relati$e positions of the moon and sun change in
relation to the )arth?
moon revolves around the #arth, its angle increases and decreases in relation to
the equator. This is known as its declination. The two tidal bulges track the
changes in lunar declination, also increasing or decreasing their angles to the
equator. $imilarly, the sun%s relative position to the equator changes over the
course of a year as the #arth rotates around it. The sun%s declination affects the
seasons as well as the tides.
1. At what point is the sun at its minimum declination and its maximum declination?
&arch '( and $eptember '), respectively*the sun is at its minimum declination
because it is positioned directly above the equator. +n ,une '( and -ecember ''
*the summer and winter solstices, respectively*the sun is at its maximum
!requency o" Tides # The $unar %ay
11. 2ompare and contrast a solar and lunar day. ,ow long is a lunar day?
3olar 4 5hrs 6unar 4 5 hr 1- minutes
1". Why do most coastal areas experience two high tides and two low tides?
Because the #arth rotates through two tidal bulges! every lunar day, coastal
areas experience two high and two low tides every '. hours and /0 minutes.
1%. ,ow long does it take for high tide to occur? ,ow long is the time between low
and high tide?
"igh tides occur (' hours and '/ minutes apart. 1t takes six hours and ('./
minutes for the water at the shore to go from high to low, or from low to high.
Tidal &ariations # The In"luence o" Position and %istance
1(. What causes spring tides? What causes neap tides? ,ow many spring and neap
tides occur in a lunar month?
When the sun, moon, and #arth are in alignment 2at the time of the new or full
moon3, the solar tide has an additive effect on the lunar tide, creating extra-high
high tides, and very low, low tides*both commonly called spring tides. +ne week
later, when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other, the solar tide
partially cancels out the lunar tide and produces moderate tides known as neap
tides. -uring each lunar month, two sets of spring tides and two sets of neap
tides occur.
1+. ,ow are tide7generating forces affected when the moon is closest to the )arth 8or
perigee9? when the moon is farthest away from the )arth 8or apogee9? ,ow does this
affect the tides that are produced?
+nce a month, when the moon is closest to the #arth 2at perigee3, tide-
generating forces are higher than usual, producing above-average ranges in the
tides. 4bout two weeks later, when the moon is farthest from the #arth 2at
apogee3, the lunar tide-raising force is smaller, and the tidal ranges are less than
-. ,ow are tide7generating forces affected when the )arth is closest to the sun 8or
perihelion9? when the )arth is farthest from the sun 8or aphelion9? ,ow does this
affect the tides that are produced?
When the #arth is closest to the sun 2perihelion3, which occurs about ,anuary ' of
each calendar year, the tidal ranges are enhanced. When the #arth is furthest
from the sun 2aphelion3, around ,uly ', the tidal ranges are reduced
What ""ects Tides in ddition to the 'un and (oon?
1. ,ow are the magnitudes of tides affected by shorelines? By mid7ocean islands?
When oceanic tidal bulges hit wide continental margins, the height of the tides
can be magnified. 5onversely, mid-oceanic islands not near continental margins
typically experience very small tides of ( meter or less
. ,ow does a funnel7shaped bay compare to a narrow inlet and shallow water?
6unnel-shaped bays in particular can dramatically alter tidal magnitude. The Bay
of 6undy in 7ova $cotia is the classic example of this effect, and has the highest
tides in the world 8 over (/ meters. 6unnel-shaped bay tides are way bigger than
narrow inlet and shallow water tides.
!. What is the affect of strong tidal ri$ers on tides in estuaries?
1n estuaries with strong tidal rivers, such as the -elaware 9iver and 5olumbia
9iver, powerful seasonal river flows in the spring can severely alter or mask the
incoming tide.
5. What other abiotic factors affect tides? 2ompare and contrast wind and weather
patterns that affect tides.
:ocal wind and weather patterns also can affect tides. $trong offshore winds can
move water away from coastlines, exaggerating low tide exposures. +nshore
winds may act to pile up water onto the shoreline, virtually eliminating low tide
exposures. "igh 8 pressure systems can depress sea levels, leading to clear
sunny days with exceptionally low tides. 5onversely, low-pressure systems that
contribute to cloudy, rainy conditions typically are associated with tides than are
much higher than predicted.