Raindrops on Sand

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Here is a high-speed look at the impact of a raindrop on a sandy beach. In this case, a water droplet is falling on a bed of uniform glass beads, but the situation is effectively the same. Depending on the speed of the drop at impact, many types of craters are possible. The higher the impact velocity, the greater the momentum of the drop at impact and the more likely the drop is to tear apart when surface tension can no longer hold it together. Interestingly, there is remarkable similarity between the shape and behavior of these liquid drop impacts and those of a catastrophic asteroid impact. (Video credit: R. Zhao et al.)

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