Is the surface of a large body of water higher on its eastern side than its western side?


I was looking at the clouds and thinking about the earth while wondering this?

In: Physics


The gravity of the earth pulls on the water all equally, which makes it’s so the gravity of the Earth causes the elevation of every part of the surface to be equal. So without outside forces, no part of any large body of water will be higher than any other part.

That said, there are outside forces at work. Obviously wind creates waves, which causes parts of the surface to be higher than other parts. And the tidal pull of other bodies in our solar system, especially the Moon, pulls on the surface of the water and raises it a bit wherever those bodies happened to be at the time, which is why we have tides.

Why do you think it would be higher in the east? Do you mean because we are rotating towards the east, and so it gets pushed up?

That wouldn’t have an effect, because the rotation is continuous and smooth. Gravity makes sure that sea level is uniform.

The tides do have an effect though. The biggest component of the tides is caused by the moon, although the sun also has a significant effect. The highest tides (“spring tides”) are caused when the sun and moon are lined up with respect to the earth.

Tides are caused because the gravitational force decreases with distance. This means that the water on the side of the earth facing the moon is pulled more strongly toward it than the water on the far side, and so the water bulges away from the earth on both sides. This is high tide; about six hours later, when the earth has turned through 90 degrees, that same point will now experience low tide.