Rooster tail

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In this image, waves are created within the bow shock near the boat's initial interface with the water, and a rooster tail directly behind the boat

A rooster tail is a term used in fluid dynamics, automotive gear shifting, and meteorology. In fluid dynamics, it lies directly in the wake of an object traveling within a fluid, and is accompanied by a vertical protrusion. If it occurs in a river, boaters upstream steer clear of their appearance. The degree of their formation can indicate the efficiency of a boat's hull design. The magnitude of these features in a boat increases with speed, while the relationship is inversely proportional for airplanes. Energetic volcanic eruptions can create rooster tail formations from their ejecta. They can form in relation to coronal loops near the sun's surface.

In gear shifting, it is the relation between the coefficient of friction and the sliding speed of the clutch. Cars can throw rooster tails in their wake and loose materials are under its wheels. In meteorology, a rooster tail satellite pattern can be applied to either low or high level cloudiness, with the low cloud line seen in the wake of tropical cyclones and the high cloud pattern seen either within mare's tails or within the outflow jet of tropical cyclones.

In fluid dynamics[edit]

Apollo 16 Commander John Young drives Lunar Rover 002

Rooster tails are caused by constructive interference near and to the wake of objects within a flowing fluid.[1]

Related to water[edit]

A fast current of water flowing over a rock near the surface of a stream or river can create a rooster tail—such commotion at the water's surface are avoided by boaters due to the near surface obstruction.[1] Propellers on boats can produce a rooster tail of water in their wake, in the form of a fountain which shoots into the air behind the boat.[2] The faster a boat goes, the larger the rooster tails become.[3] The efficiency of a boat's hull design can be determined by the magnitude of the rooster tail—larger rooster tails indicate less efficient designs.[4] If a water skier is in tow, the skis also throw off a rooster tail.[5] Airplanes lifting off from a lake produce lengthening rooster tails behind their amphibious floats with speed until the plane lifts off the surface.[6]

Related to air[edit]

Airplanes leave rooster tails in its wake in the form of two circulations of the tip of its wings. As the plane speeds up, the rooster tails become smaller.[3]

Related to rock[edit]

Rooster tail caused by a stromboli eruption

In low gravity and dusty environments, such as the Moon, they can be created by the wheels of moving vehicles.[7] A special energetic volcanic eruption known as a strombolian eruption produces bright arcs of ejecta, referred to as rooster tails, composed of basaltic cinders or volcanic ash.[8]

Near the sun[edit]

Coronal loops are the basic structures of the magnetic solar corona, the bright area seen around the sun during solar eclipses. These loops are the closed-magnetic flux cousins of the open-magnetic flux that can be found in coronal hole (polar) regions and the solar wind. Loops of magnetic flux well-up from the solar body and fill with hot solar plasma.[9] Due to the heightened magnetic activity in these coronal loop regions, coronal loops can often be the precursor to solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Emerging magnetic flux within coronal loops can cause a rooster tail.[10]

In relation to cars[edit]

The curve describing the relationship between the coefficient of friction and sliding speed of the clutch in manual transmission automobiles on a graph is known as a rooster tail characteristic.[11] Formations can occur when a car's motor revs up over puddles, loose soil, or mud.[12]

In meteorology[edit]

Tropical Storm Pablo (1995) displays a rooster tail in its eastern quadrant. Note the milky area to its east, which contains African dust

Rooster tails have been mentioned in weather satellite interpretation since 2003 connected with tropical cyclones. In the low cloud field, it represents a convergence zone on the westward extent of the Saharan Air Layer seen on the backside of tropical cyclones gaining latitude. If there are two systems, the more poleward systems strengthens while the more equatorward system weakens within an area with downward motion in the mid-levels of the troposphere.[13]

This description has also been used with high cloudiness spreading in a narrow channel equatorward within the outflow jet of a tropical cyclone, such as Hurricane Felix (1995).[14] Mare's tail patterns within cirrus clouds are occasionally referred to by this term due to their appearance.


  1. ^ a b Stephen B. U'ren (1990). Performance Kayaking. Stackpole Books. p. 79. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  2. ^ Hans Hetrick (2011). Hydroplanes. Capstone Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4296-4753-3. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  3. ^ a b Peter Garrison (September 1980). "Clean Machines". Flying Magazine. 107 (3): 42. 
  4. ^ Robert W. Carrick, ed. (August 1963). "The 6 Big Secrets of Bertram Performance". Popular Boating. Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. 14 (2): 24. 
  5. ^ Ed Brazil (January 1987). WaterSki Magazine's 1987 Boat Buyer's Guide. World Publications. p. 40. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  6. ^ Daryl DiMaggio, Sr. (March 25, 2012). "3". Swamp Eagles. ISBN 9781626759886. 
  7. ^ Brian Willems (2015). Shooting the Moon. Zero Books. 
  8. ^ Richard V. Fisher (1999). Out of the Crater: Chronicles of a Volcanologist. Princeton University Press. p. 175. ISBN 0-691-07017-2. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  9. ^ Katsukawa, Yukio; Tsuneta, Saku (2005). "Magnetic Properties at Footpoints of Hot and Cool Loops". The Astrophysical Journal. 621: 498–511. Bibcode:2005ApJ...621..498K. doi:10.1086/427488. 
  10. ^ R. L. Moore, D. A. Falconer, and A. C. Sterling (January 20–24, 2002). Multi-wavelength Observations of Coronal Structure and Dynamics: Contageous Coronal Heating From Recurring Emergence of Magnetic Flux. Elsevier Science, Limited. pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-08-044060-6. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  11. ^ A. K. Watt and R. J. Duckworth (October 1–3, 1962). "Symposium of Automative Lubricants". American Society For Testing and Materials. p. 124. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  12. ^ Mark Plimsoll (1976–2016). WMD Machete. Mark Plimsoll LLC. p. 323. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  13. ^ Peter Dodge, Peter Black, Shirley Murillo, Neal Dorst, Howard Friedman, and Michael Black. "2003 Hurricane Field Program Plan" (PDF). Hurricane Research Division. p. 53. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  14. ^ Goddard Space Flight Center (June 18, 2004). "GOES-8 Results". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 2017-07-15.