PhysLink.com Logo

Question

Where is the force of gravity stronger, on the top of Mt. Everest or at sea level?
Asked by: Andrew

Answer

The force of gravity is stronger at sea level.
The gravitational force, as explained by Newton's Law of Gravitation, is inversely proportional to the square of the separation between the two masses (or the separation between the centers of mass for the two objects).

In the case of the earth, the force of gravity is greatest on its surface and gradually decreases as you move away from its centre (as a square of the distance between the object and the center of the Earth). Of course, the earth is not a uniform sphere so the gravitational field around it is not uniform. Instead the force of gravity will also vary according to the mineral or oil deposits underground. There is also a need to distinguish between 'gravitational acceleration' and 'acceleration of free fall' of which we are more interested in. In the case of the latter, the lattitude of the place we are concerned with also matters because of the rotation of the planet.
Answered by: Maria Sallac, High school physics student


Science Quote

'I want to know God's thoughts...the rest are details.'

Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)


All rights reserved. © Copyright '1995-'2017 PhysLink.com