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

By James S. Trefil

A famous physicist and well known technology author heads for the seashore to reply to universal and unusual questions about 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 version.

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Gravity-pressure competition begins after sort of perturbation, the straight up and down motion that characterized our simple example no longer holds. Now the water moves in a circular path, as shown on the bottom. The water moves upward on the front edge of the wave, then downward on the trailing edge. The net displacement of the water is still zero-it always comes back to the same point at the corresponding point in each wave-but the actual motion is a little more complicated than in the simplest case.

Tidal despinning is actually seen in a number of places in the solar system. The inner satellites of both Jupiter and Saturn, the largest planets, have days and months that are exactly equal. Tidal effects caused by the sun's gravity have also had an influence on Venus and Mercury. The other planets are too far from the sun to be despun to any appreciable degree. If the gravitational field of the earth can have an effect on the rate of rotation of the moon, then it is reasonable to expect that the gravitational field of the moon should have a similar effect on the earth.

Why does surf usually come straight in to shore, even though the winds that start the waves moving blow in random directions? You might think that the waves generated by storm winds should approach the beach in random directions, so that the direction of their approach today would depend on the direction the wind blew somewhere out at sea a few days ago. That this is not the case results from the character of the deep water wave we discussed in chapter 6. At thc surface of a wave in deep water, the particles of water move in a circle.

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