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Lunar Tides The moon being much nearer to the earth than the sun is the principal cause of tides When the moon is directly over a given point on the surface of the earth it exerts a powerful pull on the water which therefore rises above its normal level Water covering the portion of the earth farthest from the moon is also subject to this pull so that another distinct dome of water is formed on the farther side of the earth providing the basis for a second wave The lunar wave crest directly beneath the moon is called direct tide and the crest on the side of the earth diametrically opposite is called opposite tide At both crests the condition known as high water prevails while along the circumference of the earth perpendicular to the direct-opposite tidal axis phases of low water occur Low and high waters alternate in a continuous cycle The variations that naturally occur in the level between successive high water and low water are referred to as the range of tide At most shores throughout the world two high waters and two low waters occur every lunar day the average length of a lunar day being 24 hr 50 min and 28 sec One of these high waters is caused by the direct-tide crest and the other by the opposite-tide crest Two successive high waters or low waters are generally of about the same height At various places outside the Atlantic Ocean however these heights vary considerably this phenomenon which is known as diurnal inequality is not completely understood at the present time Solar Tides The sun likewise gives rise to two oppositely situated wave crests but because the sun is far from the earth its tide-raising force is only about 46 percent that of the moon The sum of the forces exerted by the moon and sun result in a wave
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