How water drains on the equator

We spent all of today exploring Quito, Ecuador. At 8:30 a.m., our guide met us at our hotel and we loaded into a van.

Driving in Quito is similar to other South American countries. Traffic laws exist, but they are mostly optional. Right-hand turns from the left-hand lane are the norm. Suprisingly, there is little road rage. Lots of horns, but few taking the craziness of traffic personally.

Once we made it into old town, we set out on foot. We visited plazas, churches, the president´s home, and the like. Our guide was good, offering lots of detail and interesting history about the places we visited.

By afternoon, we headed to the equator. An outdoor museum, we had some fun doing some basic science experiments on or near the equator (latitude 0).

Draining water from a sink worked as expected. In the northern hemisphere, the water circled counter-clockwize. In the southern hemisphere, it circled clockwize. And right on the equater, the water drained straight down. The impressive part was the difference in draining methods was apparent in less than 10 feet on either side of the equator.

Tomorrow, we head to the Galapagos Islands where we will spend five days and four nights aboard a ship, hopping from one island to the next. You likely won´t hear from me until we get to Peru, a few days after Christmas. Happy holidays.

6 Comments


  1. Sorry to bust your bubble Jason, but….. First off I am not saying there is no such thing as the Coriolis Effect.. It does infact exist and one can see examples of the effect in hurricanes, cyclones..etc.. The Coriolis effect is the effect that the earth’s rotation has on air and water. It effects all air and water but to actually see the effect in action one must have a large mass of water or air, something a bathtub or a sink does not provide. The overriding direction of a sink or bathtub’s drainage is not the Coriolis Effect as many people are lead to believe,but rather by how the structure (sink,bathtub..etc) was built. the drain not being 100% perfect in the center of the structure is a perfect example of a variable that dictates the direction of the water flowing down the drain. The direction of how the water was first tapped into the sink. Most structures the water is first brought in at an angle or hits an angle on the way in thust starting the motion in either direction and the Coriolois effect is so small that it doesn’t override it.. Think of the Coriolis Effect as those gravity experiments in a science class, the one where all objects fall to the earth at the same speed, you probrably seen an 1980’s VCR tape that has examples of a marble and and a feather falling at the same speed but then your teacher tells you to try it and it fails… the reason it fails is because it is only true in a frictionless vaccum (sp?). In the real world there is air resistence and makes the feather fall slower then a marble. :)

    While the Coriolis Effect does effect all bodies of water and air, a structure such as a sink, bathtub or toliet is not show the effect in action. The effect is so small compared to the other factors that are involved in the experiment

    Now I have heard stories that in various locations on the equator, there are shops that have been setup to explote this large belief and have set up three structures 10-30 feet away, one in the northern hemisphere, one on the equater and one in the southern hemisphere and you can pay money to flush a toliet in three different spots on the earth but they have built the three structures to make the water flow that way ;)

    If you really want proof of the Coriolis Effect ask anyone in florida what side of the hurricane they will always wish to be… :)


  2. We use the same sink and simply picked it up, moving it to either side of the equator. We then poored the water into the sink right above the drain, for all three locations. We then waited for the water to settle.

    When we pulled the drain, water north of the equator went counter clockwise, water on the equator went straight down, and water south of the equator went clockwise.

    Though I do not always pay close attention, I have observed many toilets and sinks here in the southern hemisphere drain clockwise (on two seperate trips). I have yet to see one drain otherwise.


  3. Sorry to bust your bubble Jason, but….. First off I am not saying there is no such thing as the Coriolis Effect.. It does infact exist and one can see examples of the effect in hurricanes, cyclones..etc.. The Coriolis effect is the effect that the earth’s rotation has on air and water. It effects all air and water but to actually see the effect in action one must have a large mass of water or air, something a bathtub or a sink does not provide. The overriding direction of a sink or bathtub’s drainage is not the Coriolis Effect as many people are lead to believe,but rather by how the structure (sink,bathtub..etc) was built. the drain not being 100% perfect in the center of the structure is a perfect example of a variable that dictates the direction of the water flowing down the drain. The direction of how the water was first tapped into the sink. Most structures the water is first brought in at an angle or hits an angle on the way in thust starting the motion in either direction and the Coriolois effect is so small that it doesn’t override it.. Think of the Coriolis Effect as those gravity experiments in a science class, the one where all objects fall to the earth at the same speed, you probrably seen an 1980’s VCR tape that has examples of a marble and and a feather falling at the same speed but then your teacher tells you to try it and it fails… the reason it fails is because it is only true in a frictionless vaccum (sp?). In the real world there is air resistence and makes the feather fall slower then a marble. :)

    While the Coriolis Effect does effect all bodies of water and air, a structure such as a sink, bathtub or toliet is not show the effect in action. The effect is so small compared to the other factors that are involved in the experiment

    Now I have heard stories that in various locations on the equator, there are shops that have been setup to explote this large belief and have set up three structures 10-30 feet away, one in the northern hemisphere, one on the equater and one in the southern hemisphere and you can pay money to flush a toliet in three different spots on the earth but they have built the three structures to make the water flow that way ;)

    If you really want proof of the Coriolis Effect ask anyone in florida what side of the hurricane they will always wish to be… :)


  4. Sorry to bust your bubble Jason, but….. First off I am not saying there is no such thing as the Coriolis Effect.. It does infact exist and one can see examples of the effect in hurricanes, cyclones..etc.. The Coriolis effect is the effect that the earth’s rotation has on air and water. It effects all air and water but to actually see the effect in action one must have a large mass of water or air, something a bathtub or a sink does not provide. The overriding direction of a sink or bathtub’s drainage is not the Coriolis Effect as many people are lead to believe,but rather by how the structure (sink,bathtub..etc) was built. the drain not being 100% perfect in the center of the structure is a perfect example of a variable that dictates the direction of the water flowing down the drain. The direction of how the water was first tapped into the sink. Most structures the water is first brought in at an angle or hits an angle on the way in thust starting the motion in either direction and the Coriolois effect is so small that it doesn’t override it.. Think of the Coriolis Effect as those gravity experiments in a science class, the one where all objects fall to the earth at the same speed, you probrably seen an 1980’s VCR tape that has examples of a marble and and a feather falling at the same speed but then your teacher tells you to try it and it fails… the reason it fails is because it is only true in a frictionless vaccum (sp?). In the real world there is air resistence and makes the feather fall slower then a marble. :)

    While the Coriolis Effect does effect all bodies of water and air, a structure such as a sink, bathtub or toliet is not show the effect in action. The effect is so small compared to the other factors that are involved in the experiment

    Now I have heard stories that in various locations on the equator, there are shops that have been setup to explote this large belief and have set up three structures 10-30 feet away, one in the northern hemisphere, one on the equater and one in the southern hemisphere and you can pay money to flush a toliet in three different spots on the earth but they have built the three structures to make the water flow that way ;)

    If you really want proof of the Coriolis Effect ask anyone in florida what side of the hurricane they will always wish to be… :)


  5. what ever effects are understood…I was present and took part in these experiments numerous times.If your in brazil and ny the differences will be less noticed but at the equater there is an obvious pull from both hemispheres.You have to experience it to believe it.

    stew


  6. Sorry to bust your bubble Jason, but….. First off I am not saying there is no such thing as the Coriolis Effect.. It does infact exist and one can see examples of the effect in hurricanes, cyclones..etc.. The Coriolis effect is the effect that the earth’s rotation has on air and water. It effects all air and water but to actually see the effect in action one must have a large mass of water or air, something a bathtub or a sink does not provide. The overriding direction of a sink or bathtub’s drainage is not the Coriolis Effect as many people are lead to believe,but rather by how the structure (sink,bathtub..etc) was built. the drain not being 100% perfect in the center of the structure is a perfect example of a variable that dictates the direction of the water flowing down the drain. The direction of how the water was first tapped into the sink. Most structures the water is first brought in at an angle or hits an angle on the way in thust starting the motion in either direction and the Coriolois effect is so small that it doesn’t override it.. Think of the Coriolis Effect as those gravity experiments in a science class, the one where all objects fall to the earth at the same speed, you probrably seen an 1980’s VCR tape that has examples of a marble and and a feather falling at the same speed but then your teacher tells you to try it and it fails… the reason it fails is because it is only true in a frictionless vaccum (sp?). In the real world there is air resistence and makes the feather fall slower then a marble. :)

    While the Coriolis Effect does effect all bodies of water and air, a structure such as a sink, bathtub or toliet is not show the effect in action. The effect is so small compared to the other factors that are involved in the experiment

    Now I have heard stories that in various locations on the equator, there are shops that have been setup to explote this large belief and have set up three structures 10-30 feet away, one in the northern hemisphere, one on the equater and one in the southern hemisphere and you can pay money to flush a toliet in three different spots on the earth but they have built the three structures to make the water flow that way ;)

    If you really want proof of the Coriolis Effect ask anyone in florida what side of the hurricane they will always wish to be… :)

Comments are closed.