While running after a downpour the other day, I watched the water flowing in little rivers along the road. All around I heard the rush of water as it found its path of least resistance. This experience made me wonder about the force of water (in liquid form) and the extent of its impact upon nature. It also made me think about water’s good and bad points.
Water and Newton’s Laws
Like many other parts of nature, water molecules may be at rest or in motion. As such, these molecules follow Newton’s Laws of Motion. The First Law of Motion may be summarized as “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force.”
Water molecules in a pond will remain in the pond until evaporation causes them to move into the atmosphere or wind or other forces move the molecules to another location. Raindrops falling from the sky stay in motion until hitting the ground where they are either absorbed into the ground or repelled due to oversaturation.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion states, “The force acting on an object is equal to the mass of that object times its acceleration.” This can be represented by the formula: F = ma. In the case of water molecules, the force exerted is equal to the mass of the molecules multiplied by the acceleration of the molecules.
Another way to determine the force of water molecules is to use a conversion table. Most conversion tables list one gallon of water equal to 8.33 pounds. To put this in perspective, one inch of rain over one square foot of land equates to 5.2 pounds. One inch of rain over an acre of land equals 113.31 tons, which is a lot of force.
Per Newton’s Third Law, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Water falling from the sky is met at the ground with an opposing force. Water flowing on the ground is opposed by friction, or resistance, which may in turn cause erosion over time.
Downfalls of Water
In watching all the water flowing along my running route, I noted some of the negative aspects and consequences of ground water, most of which occur due to extreme situations. Too much water (either in the ground, on the surface, or in the air) may result in:
- Promotion of mold growth
- Mood disorders in humans
Too little water may cause:
- Plant wilting
- Death in plants, animals, and humans
Fortunately, nature has a way of balancing events and amounts. In the case of water, its good points help offset its downfalls. These good points include:
- Sustaining plant, animal, and human life
- Promoting growth and development
- Providing routes for molecular flow and transition
- Cleansing the environment
- Providing means of transportation and recreation
- Assisting with chemical reactions and energy production
I would also add water’s ability to make the body stop and reflect upon life. Though rain typically does not stop me from running or biking, my thoughts in and on the rain tend to be deeper and more in tune with nature.
Poetry in Motion
The rhythm of the falling rain is often soothing to my mind, body, and soul. The experience allows me to clear my head and sometimes inspires me to write poetry or short stories about life. Through the years, I have seen my writing change in format, structure, and purpose. Like the amount of water in my surroundings, my thoughts and feelings ebb and flow, moving me onward in time.
Some thoughts are positive, others negative, but all seem to follow Newton’s Laws of Motion. Nature is often the “external force” that either makes me rest or move in accordance with these laws. For every aspect of nature I see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, my body, mind, or soul has a reaction. This constant stream of interaction allows me to learn, grow, and move onward in life as my surroundings change. It is all one large delta project, filled with nature’s blessings and amazing grace.
Resources and Related Links
Erosion – http://education.nationalgeographic.com/encyclopedia/erosion/
Evaporation – http://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleevaporation.html
Ground water activity – http://www.epa.gov/region1/students/pdfs/gwb10.pdf
Ground water – http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment/facts/06-111.pdf
Newton’s laws of motion – http://www.livescience.com/46558-laws-of-motion.html
Water conversion table – http://osufacts.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2216/BAE-1501web.pdf
Water facts- http://water.epa.gov/
Water per acre – https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/archive/dickinso/research/2004/range04c.htm
Water saturation – http://petrowiki.org/Water_saturation_determination
Water table – http://education.nationalgeographic.com/encyclopedia/water-table/