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Cape Cod The Tides

To people living along the seacoast the phenomenon of the rise and fall of the tides is as familiar as breathing. But to visitors from inland regions, who have never before seen the ocean, it is a strange sight to see the water lapping along the shores and then, six hours later, in that same spot to look upon mud flats and an exposed shore bed.

Tides are due to the moon’s pull upon the earth. The attraction of the moon on the water immediately below her is greater than the attraction on the solid earth, and tends to raise the water at that spot. At the point of the surface directly opposite the moon, the water layer is further from the moon than the bulk of the earth and consequently is attracted by the moon less than the earth is. Therefore the earth is pulled away from the water.

Tides rise on an average of twice a day, the interval being 12 hours and 25 minutes. Thus each day the hour of the tide, in a given place, becomes later than it was the previous day.  However, there are places in the world such as the East Indian seas where the high tides are only twelve hours apart, and there are certain places in the China Sea where the interval between two successive tides is over twenty-four hours apart.

Usually the high water is about as much above the mean level of the sea as the succeeding low water is below it. But in some places, such as Southampton, England, the tide rises twice as high as it falls. There are other spots where the low tide is twice what the high tide is.

Usually the range of the tide varies from day to day reaching a maximum once a fort-night. This range varies from place to place. Along the Mediterranean it seldom exceeds two feet.

Along the Cape shore for the month of August the average range is approximately eight feet. At the head of the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, the range is a dramatic fifty feet.

The speed with which the tide rises and ebbs varies. Along the South Shore the actual flow of the tide is not noticeable. However, at distances up certain rivers such as the Severn in England the tide spreads over the flat sands in a roaring surf and travels up the river in a wall of water.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 04/05/06
Categories: Nature
Keywords: maritime, nature, tides, moon


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