Reader Questions

Reader Question: Splashes

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Reader effjoebiden asks:

So is the crown splash the curving wave of water on either side of the tire, the spikes of water in the middle behind the tire, or both? And is the Worthington jet also the same phenomenon that can happen with a massive meteorite impact?

Here the term “crown splash” refers to the curving sheets of water spreading on either side of the tire. Those liquid sheets (or lamella) break down at the edges into spikes and droplets just like the ones seen when a drop falls into a pool, which is the traditional source of the term “crown splash” because it resembles a crown.

And, yes, enormous meteor impacts can create Worthington jets (that column of fluid that pops up after a droplet impacts)! This is why some craters have peaks in the middle. There are actually some surprising similarities between meteor impacts and fluid dynamics.

(Image credits: S. Reckinger et al., original post)

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