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A perigean spring tide is when the moon is closest to the Earth during the spring tide.

The moon's orbit around the Earth is elliptical which causes the moon to be closer to the Earth and farther away at different times. The moon and the sun are aligned every two weeks which result in spring tides; tides that are 20% higher than normal. During the period of the new Moon, the Moon and Sun are on the same side of the Earth so that the high tides or bulges produced independently by each reinforce each other. Tides of maximum height and depression produced during this period are known as spring tide. Even higher than a normal spring tide are the perigean tides. Perigean Spring tides can produce unusually intense flooding along the coastal regions. Low amplitude tides are known as neap tides.

The moon is the primary source of the gravitational forces which cause the tides. The proximity of the moon in relation to the earth does have an effect on the range of the tides at any given time. In each of its 28-day elliptical orbits, the moon reaches a "perigee," its closest point of approach to the earth. During these periods, there will be a slight increase in the average range of tides. The increases in the range of the tides is seen by a slightly higher than average high tide, as well as a slightly lower than average low tide. Additionally, twice each month, around the times of the new moon and full moon, when the earth, sun, and moon are nearly in line, there is an increase in the average range of the tides. These are called "spring tides." Three or four times a year, the occurrence of a new or full moon will coincide with the "perigee" of the moon, which Mr. Wood has termed the "perigean spring tides".

See also


  • Easterbrook, D.J. (1999)Surface Process and Landforms 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Duxbury, A.B., Duxbury, A.C., Sverdrup, K.A. (2002) Fundamentals of Oceanography 4th Ed. New York, NY:McGraw Hill


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