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Only the Mass of the Raindrop Determines Distance Miterwort Seed Travels

email-miterwort pollinator 197 In the interest of accuracy, I am going to risk boring readers with a clarification of what determines the distance that a Miterwort seed travels. Jim Block, an outstanding nature photographer, obviously has a greater grasp of physics than yours truly. I attributed the distance traveled to the size of the raindrop and the distance it had traveled, but as Jim so clearly explains, only the the size of the raindrop effects the distance the seed travels.
Here is his explanation: The distance the seed travels is likely dependent on the mass and the velocity of the drop when it hits the seed. But the velocity of the rain drop is only dependent on its mass, not the distance it falls. That is because after it falls a relatively short distance it no longer gains speed since the air drag balances gravity and the drop moves at a constant “terminal velocity”. So in effect the distance the seed travels is dependent only on the mass of the drop. All drops of the same size arrive at the same velocity.

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9 responses

  1. Chris

    After reading your initial post, I was thinking more along the lines of “what about the seed being carried away by the flowing water the raindrops are making?” Just saying.

    May 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm

  2. Suzanne Weinberg

    Well, enlightened! Physics is HARD. I’ll bet he can explain whether or not if you run faster in a rainstorm you more or less wet… Suzanne

    May 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

  3. Rebecca Weil

    Mary, You do such a lovely job with all your posts! I get a kick out of the clarifications. Thank you for adding to our life. In addition to reading each of your posts, I read a snippet from your book most days. Have you read Rural Hours by Susan F. Cooper? She is a relative of my husbands, and wrote about the town we live in. I read sections of her book each season. I am enjoying your book in a similar way, as it walks through the months and what is happening around us. You have a wonderful way of bringing forward the world around us.

    Thank you! Rebecca Weil

    May 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    • Thanks so much, Rebecca. I will have to find a copy of Rural Hours! Glad you enjoy the clarifications — there have certainly been a lot of them recently!

      May 28, 2014 at 5:36 pm

  4. Randall Perkins

    Dear Mary, please risk boring me A N Ytime. I love starting my day with you and your observations/knowledge, thanks to Libby Chapin among various fans. Very best wishes to you, Randall Perkins

    May 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    • You’re not the Randall Perkins who used to live in Dorset, by any chance, are you?

      May 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm

  5. Marie Kirn

    Fascinating! I’m intrigued by the physics of it all. And never could be a physicist! Marie

    May 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm

  6. Dianne and Ed

    How VERY interesting!!

    May 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm

  7. Fascinating!

    May 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm

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