Tides and Water Levels
What Causes Tides?
Gravity is one major force that creates tides. In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton explained that ocean tides result from the gravitational attraction of the sun and moon on the oceans of the earth (Sumich, J.L., 1996).
Newton’s law of universal gravitation states 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 (Sumich, J.L., 1996; Thurman, H.V., 1994). Therefore, the greater the mass of the objects and the closer they are to each other, the greater the gravitational attraction between them (Ross, D.A. 1995).
Tidal forces are based on the gravitational attractive force. With regard to tidal forces on the Earth, the distance between two objects usually is more critical than their masses. Tidal generating forces vary inversely as the cube of the distance from the tide generating object. Gravitational attractive forces only vary inversely to the square of the distance between the objects (Thurman, H.V., 1994). The effect of distance on tidal forces is seen in the relationship between the sun, the moon, and the Earth’s waters.
#earth #science #gravity
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