Leaves have formed the circumference of the circle

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Sometime in the afternoon or in evening i see some leaves caught in something like air current which i feel that there some thing more. The leaves (tiny fallen leaves and some dust particles) revolve around a center. It looks like the leaves have formed the circumference of the circle and they are revolving around some point on the ground. Please tell me why this happens. This cannot just be any air current. The circle is horizontal not vertical.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It is quite common for air to have approximately circular currents. Typhoons and hurricanes, and cyclones in general, are the same thing on a much larger scale.
 
  • #3
Simon Bridge
Science Advisor
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Look up "turbulence".

When air flows past a corner, for example, some of the flow will curl around creating eddies. You can also get different angled breezes adding up to some circular motion and groups of objects can funnel a breeze into a vortex. As long as there is a breeze, these motions can be sustained for quite a time.
 
  • #4
K^2
Science Advisor
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There are two effects balancing each other out. There is centrifugal effect forcing the leaves apart, and there is a ground air current pulling the leaves towards the center. At a certain radius, these two effects balance out. The reason for the ground current towards the center is explained by the Tea Leaf Paradox. Note that in a fluid, leaves are near-buoyant, so centrifugal effect is relatively insignificant.
 

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