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    Why do waves meet the shore at right angles or nearly so? Explain using refraction . Help would be appreciated


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    (Original post by Futurechemist)
    Why do waves meet the shore at right angles or nearly so? Explain using refraction . Help would be appreciated


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    As it happens jennifer50 recently posted a nice diagram of the effect of refraction on waves moving from deep to shallow water in this thread
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    I understand that wave is slower in shallow water but how does that affect the angle at which it meets the shore?


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    (Original post by Futurechemist)
    I understand that wave is slower in shallow water but how does that affect the angle at which it meets the shore?


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    Change in speed causes refraction... the change in direction is shown in the diagram. the rule is Snell's law which says

    sin (ϴ1)/sin (ϴ2)=v1/v2

    look at the diagram I just linked to, draw a normal to the boundary between deep and shallow water and see if the direction of travel of the waves in deep water is making a different angle to the normal than the direction of travel of the waves in the shallow water.

    the question is asking you about waves hitting the shore with a direction of travel which makes a small angle to the normal... waves hitting the shore are by definition moving from deeper water into shallower water.
 
 
 
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