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Ocean Tides

What is a spring tide?


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March 19, 2014 11:42AM

When the moon is full or new, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun are combined. At these times, the high tides are very high and the low tides are very low. This is known as a spring high tide. Spring tides are especially strong tides (they do not have anything to do with the season Spring). They occur when the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon are in a line. The gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun both contribute to the tides. Spring tides occur during the full moon and the new moon.

When the moon's gravitational force and the sun's gravitational forces are parallell the spring tide, or the maximum difference between high and low tides. When the gravitational forces are perpendicular to each other the least difference between the tides are experienced. That condition is called "neap tide.