Reference no: EM131016361
The Lewis and Clark Expedition Lewis and Clark followed several rivers in their trek from what is now Great Falls, Montana, to the Pacific coast. First, they went down the Missouri and Jefferson rivers from Great Falls to Lemhi, Idaho. Because the two cities are on different longitudes and different latitudes, we must account for the curvature of Earth when computing the distance that they traveled. Assume that the radius of Earth is 3960 miles.
1. Great Falls is at approximately 47.5°N and 111.3°W. Lemhi is at approximately 45.5°N and 113.5°W. (We will assume that the rivers flow straight from Great Falls to Lemhi on the surface of Earth.) This line is called a geodesic line. Apply the Law of Cosines for a spherical triangle to find the angle between Great Falls and Lemhi. (The central angles are found by using the differences in the latitudes and longitudes of the towns. Then find the length of the arc joining the two towns. (Recall s = r)
2. From Lemhi, they went up the Bitteroot River and the Snake River to what is now Lewiston and Clarkston on the border of Idaho and Washington. Although this is not really a side to a triangle, we will make a side that goes from Lemhi to Lewiston and Clarkston. If Lewiston and Clarkston are at about 46.5°N 117.0°W, find the distance from Lemhi using the Law of Cosines for a spherical triangle and the arc length.
3. How far did that explorers travel just to get that far?
4. Draw a plane triangle connecting the three towns. If the distance from Lewiston to Great Falls is 282 miles and the angle at Great Falls is 42° and the angle at Lewiston 48.5°, find the distance from Great Falls to Lemhi and from Lemhi to Lewiston. How do these distances compare with the ones computed in parts (1) and (2)?