The falling rock
The rock is falling from a height
h
above the surface of Earth, and because the Earth is
rotating, it will not land at a point directly under its starting point. Working in the frame
of the Earth, we can work out its “deviation” by using the Coriolis force.
We only need the Coriolis force, not the Centrifugal force, because the Centrifugal ac
celeration on or near the surface of the Earth is much smaller than
g
. This is because
ω
,
the angular velocity of the Earth, is extremely small. Its value is approximately 7.3
×
10

5
radians/s. Thus, the Centrifugal acceleration is
ω
2
R
E
∼
5
×
10

9
×
6
×
10
6
∼
3
×
10

2
m/s
2
,
which is much smaller than 9
.
8 m/s
2
.
It is also important to realise that for the Coriolis acceleration be comparable to
g
, we
would need a velocity such that
vω
∼
g
, or
v
∼
10
5
m/s. Such velocities are much higher
than those we ordinarily encounter. Thus, in any ordinary situation on Earth, the Coriolis
acceleration is very small. However, its effects can be seen.
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 Fall '07
 Harris
 Coriolis Effect, Force, Work, The Land, Rotation, Reactive centrifugal force, Euler force

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