A blog explaining science and technology through the movies ... or explaining the movies through science and technology, depending on the point of view. English is not my first language, so I apologize for the mistakes you are likely to find in the posts

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Magnolia: It's raining frogs

Those who have seen this interesting movie by Paul Thomas Anderson (1999) probably remember the surrealistic scene in which thousands of frogs rain all over the city and the perplexed and tortured characters. All right, taking apart their metaphorical qualities, rain frogs are a rare but real phenomenon which we are able to explain scientifically.

Atmospherical pressure inside a twister is so low that a vacuum is produced, bringing a suction effect similar to that of a very strong domestic vacuum cleaner. If this takes place in a pool full of frogs, these will see themselves sucked in and taken up in the air: later, when the twister loses its energy and can’t thwart gravity effects anymore, they will fall down “raining” all over the place, which could be many kilometres away from their natural habitat.

A rain so intense as the one in the movie might not be possible and neither a so pure one, because other animal, plants and objects being in the pond at the moment would rain along with the anphibians. Nevertheless, it is logical that no water rains, as it gets easily sprayed and scattered by the twister, and later evaporated into the atmosphere. Those who still find it hard to believe can read about some real frog rain news in the following links:


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