Difference Between Spring and Neap Tides (With Table)

Spring Tide has a more definite tidal range, whereas Neap Tides have a less definite tidal range. Although Spring Tides and Neap Tides are both types of Tides, and hence, have some similar features, yet they differ from each other in quite a lot of ways.  

Spring Tide vs Neap Tide 

The difference between Springtide and Neap tide is that the difference between high tide for a Spring tide and low tide for a Spring tide is always greater than usual. On the other hand, the difference between high tide for a Neap tide and low tide for a Neap Tide is generally lower than usual.  

Twice a month, during the full moon and new moon days, the moon and sun work together, in alignment, to exert a maximum pull on the oceans. This results in the formation of Spring tides. As the gravitational pull performed by both the moon and the sun gets added together, a more definite tidal range- low-tides being lower than usual and high-tides being stronger than usual is formed. Spring Tide gets its name because of its ‘springing’ nature throughout.    

Neap tides are caused by the sun and moon’s gravitational pulls opposing one another. This takes place seven days after a Spring Tide, during the first and third quarter moon. The sun and moon are positioned at ninety degrees to one another during this time. As the gravitational pull performed by both the moon and run work against each other, the tugging gets weakened, less definite tidal range- low and high tides being less definite than usual, is formed. 

Comparison Table Between Spring and Neap Tides

Parameters of Comparison  Spring Tide Neap Tide 
 Occurrence  Spring Tide occurs during the full moon and half-moon days. This happens twice a month.   Neap Tide occurs during Lunar quadrature, that is, during the first and third quarter moon.  
   Origin   The Spring Tide originates when twice a month, during the full moon and new moon days, the moon and sun work together, in alignment, to exert a maximum pull on the oceans. This gives rise to giant tides known as Spring Tide.   Neap tides are caused by the sun and moon’s gravitational pulls opposing one another. This takes place seven days after a Spring Tide, during the first and third quarter moon. The sun and moon are positioned at ninety degrees to one another during this time.  
  Gravity   The gravitational pull of the sun and the moon gets added together because the moon and the sun are in the same direction.   The gravitational pull performed by both the moon and sun opposes each other because the sun, moon, and earth are positioned at ninety degrees from each other.  
 High and Low Tides  Since the gravitational pull of both moon and sun gets added together, the high tides are higher and stronger than normal, and the low tides are lower than usual.   In the case of Neap Tides, as the moon and sun exert opposing pulls, the tugging is lessened, and hence, a less definite tidal range resulting in a higher low and lower high tides is formed. 
 
 Tidal Range  The gravitational pull of both moon and sun gets added together, and a more definite or the greatest tidal range is formed.   As the moon and sun exert opposing pulls, the tugging is lessened, and a less definite or the lowest tidal range is formed. 

What is Spring Tide? 

Twice a month, during the full moon and new moon days, the moon and sun work together, in alignment, to exert a maximum pull on the oceans. This results in the formation of Spring tides. The gravitational pull of both moon and sun gets added together, and a more definite or the greatest tidal range is formed.   

As the gravitational pull performed by both the moon and the sun gets added together, a more definite tidal range- low-tides being lower than usual and high-tides being stronger than usual is formed. Spring Tides are giant tides, and they get their name because of their ‘springing’ nature throughout. 

What is Neap Tide? 

Neap tides are caused by the sun and moon’s gravitational pulls opposing one another. This takes place seven days after a Spring Tide, during the first and third quarter moon. During this time, the sun and moon are positioned at ninety degrees to one another.  

As the moon and sun exert opposing pulls, the tugging is lessened, and a less definite tidal range- low and high tides being less definite than usual, is formed. Neap Tides are moderate and low tides. 

Main Differences Between Spring and Neap Tide

  1. Spring Tide occurs during the full moon and half-moon days, whereas Neap Tide occurs during Lunar quadrature, that is, during the first and third quarter moon.   
  2. The Springtide originates when twice a month, during the full moon and new moon days, the moon and sun work together, in alignment, to exert a maximum pull on the oceans. This gives rise to giant tides known as Spring Tide, whereas Neap Tides are formed when the sun and the moon exert opposing pulls, and the tugging is lessened. This takes place seven days after a Spring Tide when the sun and moon are positioned at ninety degrees to one another.  
  3. In the case of Spring Tide, the moon and the sun are in the same direction. Hence, the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon gets added together. On the other hand, in the case of Neap Tides, as the moon and sun exert opposing pulls, the tugging is lessened, and a less definite tidal range is formed because, during this time, the sun and moon are positioned at ninety degrees to one another.  
  4. In the case of Spring tides, a more definite tidal range is formed, whereas, in the case of Neap Tides, a less definite tidal range is formed.  
  5. Since, in the case of Spring Tides, the gravitational pull of both moon and sun gets added together, the high tides are higher and stronger than normal, and the low tides are lower than usual. On the other hand, in the case of Neap Tides, as the moon and sun exert opposing pulls, the tugging is lessened, and hence, a less definite tidal range resulting in a higher low and lower high tides is formed.

Conclusion 

Spring Tide has a more definite tidal range, whereas Neap Tides have a less definite tidal range. Although Spring Tides and Neap Tides are both types of Tides, and hence, have some similar features, yet they differ from each other in quite a lot of ways.  

Twice a month, during the full moon and new moon days, the moon and sun work together, in alignment, to exert a maximum pull on the oceans. This results in the formation of Spring tides. As the gravitational pull performed by both the moon and the sun gets added together, a more definite tidal range- low-tides being lower than usual and high-tides being stronger than usual is formed.    

Neap tides are caused by the sun and moon’s gravitational pulls opposing one another. This takes place seven days after a Spring Tide, during the first and third quarter moon. The sun and moon are positioned at ninety degrees to one another during this time. As the moon and sun exert opposing pulls, the tugging is lessened, and a less definite tidal range- low and high tides being less definite than usual, is formed.   

The main point of difference between Springtide and Neap tide is that the difference between high tide for a Spring Tide and low tide for a Spring Tide is always greater than usual, whereas the difference between high tide for a Neap Tide and low tide for a Neap Tide is generally lower than usual. 

References 

  1. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/943697/ 
  2. https://ir.uitm.edu.my/id/eprint/22481/ 
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