why do water surfaces show that white-diamond-like-pattern?

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Why does the surface of water sometimes reflect a diamond-honeycomb-like pattern (seen often in drawings, animation and pools)? What is the scientific reason?

It usually is white on top, with a darker shadow in the same pattern a few units below. In animation it usually sways more than breaking up or reforming.

In: Physics

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

You can simplify it down to a mostly transparent and dense medium (water) making contact with a less dense, also transparent medium (air).

If you were to freeze waves in time you would be able to view it from multiple angles and see that it acts just like glass or crystal in the way it bends light. You could also see that the concentration of light collects in columns as it goes deeper due to the shape of the surface. The reason you can see these columns is because many things are soluble in water, and even though they’re tiny, they refract and absorb the light cast onto them. As you go deeper the photons are hitting so many molecules that they are culled off until they’re imperceivable to the eye.

Your question specifically has to do with caustics. The caustic is a curve or surface to which each of the light rays is tangent, defining a boundary of an envelope of rays as a curve of concentrated light.

Unless you’re talking about white caps, which occurs in deeper water when the wave height becomes too large compared to the wavelength.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The surface of the water is constantly in motion (especially in a swimming pools). The pattern is caused by the way the light shines through the water, and how the movement of the surface of the pool affects the refraction (bending), reflection, scattering, etc of the light as it hits the surface