What are the different types of tides, and know more?

Tides are very important natural phenomena on earth. They occur when the earth and moon exercise their gravitational pull on each other, causing the ocean/sea level to rise on both the closest and farthest sides of the moon.

What are tides?

The tides are very important natural phenomena on earth. They occur when the earth and moon exercise their gravitational pull on each other, causing the ocean/sea level to rise on both the closest and farthest sides of the moon. This happening is called high tide and low tide happens at the low point of gravitational pull.

Most of the coastlines of this planet witness two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes with a gap of approximately 12 hours and 25minutes, causing the natural phenomena 25 minutes late in every cycle. It happens due to the rotation of the earth in relation to the moon. One side of the earth faces directly to the moon keeping another side away.

A tidal view of Balasore seashore of Bay of Bengal, Odisha, India

On the first occasion, the gravitational pull of the moon on earth causes the rise of ocean water. However, on the second occasion, the moon is relatively massive in comparison to the earth. Here a situation arises when both the earth and the moon spin around each other, which generates a force known as centrifugal force. This centrifugal force is strongest at the location facing away from the moon, which causes the sea/ocean water to bulge again, and end result is a second high tide during the day.

Spring Tide:

The Sun also used to play a very vital role in Spring tide. The situation happens, when the earth, the moon, and the Sun are placed in a straight line at the time of the full moon and new moon. During that period the joint gravitational pull referred to as the tidal force of the moon and the Sun on earth caused the extreme tide called a spring tide. A big difference between high and low tide is noticed. This happens twice a month with a gap of 15 days.

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Neap tide:

In our solar system, every celestial body is rotating. During the rotation when the Sun and the moon are positioned at a right angle to each other, the gravitational force of both on earth act against each other resulting in a small tide, known as a neap tide. The neap tide happens twice a month with a gap of 15 days and we notice a smaller difference between high and low tides.

Diurnal tide:

Diurnal tide happens once a day means one high and one low tide in a day. The continental interference and the earth’s spin axis cause only one complete tide cycle per day. Such a phenomenon happens in the Gulf of Mexico, & the west coast of Alaska where one high and one low tide are experienced during a lunar day.


Semidiurnal tide:

Semidiurnal tides mean two high and two low tides, with two equal high and two equal low tides occurring within 24 hours and 50 minutes. Most of the coastal areas experience such happenings.

Mixed tides:

A mixed type of tide consists of two high and two low tides within 24 hours and 50 minutes. However, the height between two high tides and two low tides visibly differ. The difference in height between successive high and high /low and low tides is known as diurnal inequality. On the western coast of the USA, part of Australia and South East Asia witness the above natural phenomenon.


Riptide is a very strong tidal flow within estuaries, harbors, and other tidal areas. The current flow of the riptide is maximum at its inward motion towards the sea. Riptide and rip currents are not the same. Riptide is caused by tidal movement whereas rip current flows toward the sea, from the shoreline. The rip current is localized one, may form unexpectedly around low spots or breaks in sandbars and such locations near port areas and jetties.

Ebb tide & flood tide:

It is the tidal phase during which the water levels of the tide recede, called ebb tide, whereas the reverse trend of the tide is called flood tide. The currents that occur between the flood and ebb currents are the weakest ones and are known as slack water or slack current.

Brown/red tide:

Brown tides may occur when certain species of algae grow to maximum concentrations, which discolor the tidewater called brown tide. It is the blooms of the algae species that are identified as Aureoumbra lagunensis that make the tide brown. Such types of algae species are found in water with high salinity, such as the coastal area of the Gulf of Mexico.

In red tide the algae species are different. They are some species of dinoflagellates. The blooms of such algae-like microorganisms make the color of the tide red. Both brown and red tides are harmful to underwater ecosystems and may be injurious to the human respiratory system.

Tide pool:

The tide pool is an area located within the intertidal zone of the sea or ocean. When the tidal water leaves the intertidal zone, some water is trapped in the pool with some marine creatures like small fish, crabs, sponges, sea anemones, starfish, limpets, urchins, etc.

Bore tide:

The tidal bore is a simple tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tidal waves of the water proceeds up a river or narrow bay against the river or bay’s current. It normally happens during spring tides. However, it occurs daily in the river Batang in Malaysia, called the benak.

What affects the tides?

The different natural factors like wind, low-pressure systems, and cyclonic storms affect the tidal cycles. The strong offshore winds often move coastline water toward the ocean causing a reasonable decrease in the water level of the tide. The onshore wind can reverse the tidal water level.

However, the low-pressure systems make the sea/ocean violent causing bigger waves on the shore and a violent increase in the tide flood. If the cyclonic system coincides with spring tides, then the coastal areas are violently affected by a high level of saline water.


Tides are a natural phenomenon, that depends upon the gravitational pull of the moon, and the sun. However, some other factors like weather conditions and cyclonic wind circulations may aggravate the flood tide water level. Other factors like some microscopic organisms like algae may affect the tidal water in some ways.

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  • November 17, 2022 at 7:43 pm
    Tapaswini panda


  • November 18, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Nice topic Sir


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