Q:

How are tidal waves formed?

A:

Quick Answer

Tidal waves are caused by the gravitational fields of the sun, the moon and the earth. A tidal wave is a small, regularly occurring wave caused by the shifting of the tide.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Tides are an oceanic phenomenon caused primarily by the gravitational pull of moon, but they are also caused by the gravitational force of the sun, though to a lesser extent. Due to the moon's proximity to Earth, its gravitational field is able to move water, while inertia causes the water to continue flowing in the same direction. This leads to a shallow, long-lasting wave that increases the sea level along a shoreline horizontally.

The term "tidal wave" is colloquially used to refer to tsunamis; however, this is not completely accurate. Tsunamis are large waves caused by an enormous displacement of water. Underwater earthquakes and tectonic activity are often the cause of tsunamis, but landslides and meteorite impacts are also known to displace enough water. The scientific community rejects this definition of tidal wave because tsunamis are unrelated to the tide.

Storm surges are also sometimes referred to as tidal waves, colloquially. Storm surges are dramatic increases in water level caused by storms, and they are sometimes exacerbated by tidal forces.

Learn more about Tides

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do the tides work?

    A:

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the tides are caused by the gravitational force that pulls on the water and the forces exerted by the moon and the sun. The gravitational pull of the moon cause the ocean to bulge out in its direction, while another bulge occurs on the opposite side of the earth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When is the daily tidal range the greatest?

    A:

    The daily tidal range is greatest at the new moon and full moon, when the tidal pulls of the moon and sun are in phase with each other. This phenomenon is called a spring tide and is strongest when it coincides with the vernal or autumnal equinox.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What causes tides?

    A:

    Tides, which are rising and falling sea levels, are caused by the effects of gravitational forces of the moon and sun combined with the Earth's rotation. Tidal magnitudes are affected by shoreline shape, the shape of bodies of water and environmental factors.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of all waves?

    A:

    Characteristics that all waves have in common are wavelength, amplitude and frequency. Apart from these properties, different types of waves have a number of varying characteristics. A wave is defined as a repetitive disturbance traveling through a medium going from one location to another.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore