Elements of The Oceans:
General Information About Ocean Tides:
The Sun, Moon, and Earth are three extremely large objects separated by great distances. Despite the large distances between them, each object affects the others. Earth is kept in orbit around the Sun by the gravitational forces between them. These gravitational forces are mutual, meaning each object attracts and is attracted by the other.
Gravitational forces between the Moon and Earth create the tides. Tides are primarily caused by two factors: the gravitational pull of the Moon and the inertia of water in the ocean on the Earth. Gravity creates a bulge of water on the side of the Earth facing the Moon.
The Sun also affects the tides. It creates two smaller bulges, so small that most of the time they are not even noticed. As with the Moon, one is caused by gravity and always faces the Sun. The other is caused by inertia and is always on the side facing away from the Sun. However, four times a month, the Sun's effects on the Earth's tides are noticeable. Twice a month, the Sun, Moon, and Earth align to produce very high and very low tides, called spring tides. Also twice a month, the three are aligned in a way that produces moderate tides, called neap tides.
Additional Ocean Tides Resources:
- Neap and Spring Tides Animation
- Tide Info From The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
- Another Great Month by Month Animation of Neap and Spring Tides
- More Info About Ocean Tides
Downloadable Student Activities:
- Ocean Tides Packet Page 1
- Ocean Tides Packet Page 2
- Ocean Tides Packet Page 3
- Ocean Tides Packet Page 4
- Ocean Tides Packet Page 5
- Ocean Tides Packet Page 6