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Super Moon and Super Tides

Vol. IV, No. 25

The super moon caused an extreme low tide as visible by the amount of mud exposed in front of Longshore Sailing School. Photo by John Kantor.

An extreme low tide at Longshore Sailing School this weekend. Photo by John Kantor.

The so-called Super Moon has a super effect on tide.

The moon is principally responsible for our tides on earth. The same gravitational pull which keeps our moon in orbit around our planet also tugs on the oceans giving rise to tides – literally. When the moon’s elliptical orbit occasionally brings it closer to the earth the oceans feel an extra strong tug and our tides are unusually high and unusually low – perigee tides.

When the sun and the moon are aligned, as is the case with a full moon or a new moon, we get unusually high tide and low tides as well, called spring tides. On very rare occasions the two coincide.

When a big perigee tide, associated with the moon’s near approach to earth, happens at the time of a full moon, they create a Super Moon. The extraordinary gravitational pull causes super tides. It happened this weekend and the effects will be felt for several more days.

If you are a clammer, beds are exposed at low tide which you rarely see. If you are a beach denizen, high tide will inundate a lot of your sand. And if you are a boater, you may find some new, if only temporary, islands to explore when the water ebbs and exposes sand bars. The recent Super Moon provided rare opportunities for – you guessed it – sand bar parties.

Walking along the sandbar off of Owenoke Park. Photo by John Kantor.

Walking along a sandbar in Westport’s waters. Photo by John Kantor.