Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Tidal Differences
Name: Marvin
Status: Other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Why are ocean tides greater in some areas? My son just came back from Cape Hatterus NC and he said he saw very small tide changes.



Replies:
The gravitational attraction, primarily of the moon, causes the water in the oceans to "rise" a certain amount, i.e. it bulges a bit on the side facing the moon, and on the side facing away from the moon. If the shoreline is long, wide and flat, this rise is spread out over a large surface area, so the "rise" is small. If the shoreline is a gorge, surrounded on three sides by cliffs there is no place for the water to go but UP, so the tide rises a great height. If memory is correct, the bay of Fundy, I think in Nova Scotia is the classic example.

It's really a bit more complicated than this because the tidal rise depends on other things such a approaching hurricanes or typhons, and on the landscape of the ocean floor off shore.

Vince Calder



Click here to return to the Environmental and Earth Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory