This is a set of videos showing how water drops impact granular particle surfaces.
Many people have probably watched this phenomenon in their backyards or at the beach on a rainy day.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota used high-speed photography to detail the dynamics at work at various velocities as a drop of water hit the sand. What the researchers found was that the cratering from water droplet impacts is identical to the cratering of asteroids and meteors when they slam into the Earth.
In the video, a raindrop equates to an asteroid, and the sand reacts the same as the surface of the Earth. As a drop hits the sand, the surface deforms into a perfect crater, just the same on a smaller scale to something from outer space hitting the surface of the Earth.
The researchers wrote: “Surprisingly, we found that liquid-drop impact cratering follows the same energy scaling and reproduces the same crater morphology as that of catastrophic asteroid impact cratering.”
The video won an American Physical Society Physics Fluid Motion Award this year, and it’s clear to see why.