A Scientist at the Seashore (Dover Science Books) by James S. Trefil

By James S. Trefil

A famous physicist and renowned technological know-how author heads for the seashore to reply to universal and unusual questions on the ocean: why the ocean is salty, how bubbles shape at the water's floor, the place waves come from, and different curiosities of the marine world. 90 figures. 20 halftones. 1987 variation.

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Extra resources for A Scientist at the Seashore (Dover Science Books)

Sample text

I suppose I should be satisfied, but sometimes, after a pleasant evening at the beach with friends, I find that if I am just tired enough, and if I've had just enough wine, and if I close my eyes and listen to the surf and think about it in just thc right way, I can still sec that hole in thc middle of the ocean. 7 -----~------- THE SURF She struck where white and fleecy waves Looked soft as carded wool ... -HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, The Wreck of the Hesperus Storms at sea create wind-driven waves.

But tidal bulges, once formed, can also have an effect on the orbit of the moon around the earth. For simplicity, let's talk only about the effect of ocean tides on the moon. In figure 5-8, we show the earth-moon system with the tidal bulge as it exists, lagging slightly because of the effects of friction. The mass in the close bulge, labeled A, will exert a stronger attraction on the moon than the mass in the bulge labeled B. Since the near bulge is ahead of the moon, the effect of this gravitational force will be to accelerate the moon-to pull it forward in its orbit.

Once the water level is below the point of equilibrium, the upward force of the pressure begins to win out over gravity, and the net force acting on the water reverses direction, as shown. The pressure acts to slow the water down. finally bringing it to a momentary halt (on the right). But this state of things is just as unbalanced as the one with which we started. The pressure will force the water back up to equilibrium level, but when it arrives there it will overshoot, rising to the original level shown on the left before gravity slows it down and brings it to a halt.

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