The Water Vortex

122 The Water Vortex, now located in the Busy Bee Learning Store, demonstrates one of the mighty forces of nature.  Located near our earthquake and erosion exhibits, the Vortex explores the science behind whirlpools, tornadoes, and even galaxies!

Watch the whirlpool grow larger or smaller as you spin the wheel.  As the wheel spins, the amount of water pressure changes, which changes the size of the funnel.

Why do whirlpools spin?

When water that is moving in opposite directions hit each other, friction occurs which causes the water to spin.  Whirlpools can happen with changing tides, or in turbulent areas such as the base of a waterfall.

Tornadoes are similar to whirlpools, but instead of water spinning, air is spinning.  Tornadoes happen when warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air.

You can make your own tornado in a bottle at home.

Can you think of other places you might see a water vortex?  What about your bathtub drain?